While rhythmic, rhyming poetry may seem to have become a vanishing genre since the advent of "free-verse" and "avant-garde" forms of expression; a cadre of dedicated songwriters, lyricists, and traditional poets have been the faithful defenders of the once common, yet still venerated "music of the spoken word," dating back to the poets of Old Ireland. Mr. Boyden has been honored to be one of such poets, associated with perpetuating and promulgating this classic art form, since he won the first poetry competition he entered in 1974. With the perceptible cadence and the audible "echoes" of his ongoing and anticipated rhymes, both the simple and most complex of emotionally charged issues spring to life in the "mind's eye" of the reader, evoking a myriad of irrepressible and deeply held psychological responses. In fact, many of his poems have been licensed as lyrics to collaborating songwriters, who prepared sheet music in multiple formats, including rock, show rock, country, folk and ballads. As his poetry embraces varied and diverse subjects, from the incredible majesty of our surrounding natural world to the intense, romantic feelings of the human heart; to the esoteric philosophy of life's existential questions of purpose and meaning; the poet's unique display of intellectual insights, blended into rhythmic rhyme, seamlessly provides a compelling, enjoyable reading experience. Mr. Boyden's poetry has garnered numerous awards, most notably from The National Library of Poetry and The International Library of Poetry in their acclaimed anthologies, "Best Poems of the '90's;" The Best Poems and Poets of 1996, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2007. He was inducted into The National Author's Registry in 2002 and has attained the distinction of Founding Laureate Member of The International Society of Poets.
While reading Questions in the Balance by Christopher W. Boyden, it became abundantly clear why he has won so many awards and accolades for his published poetry. His work exemplifies classic poetry; bringing together the key elements of an articulate choice of words, wonderful imagery, and existentialism in philosophy and originality within structure; all masterfully put to mostly a sharp iambic pentameter foot. Moreover, Christopher W. Boyden transcends the age barrier; meaning his poems are as interesting to an adult as much as to a child. He shows respect for readers of all ages, as all can comprehend the revealed mature concepts while being entertained by the rhythm of the structural elements.
Questions in the Balance represents 73 original poems, indexed by subject, in Christopher W. Boyden’s first published collection. He categorized his work by topics such as: Nature, love and romance, answers to the questions of thought, heaven, and our future as human beings. Although not laden with theological overtones, his beliefs are Christian and have references to God and the belief of creation and eternal life. Christopher W. Boyden candidly reveals his inner personal thoughts, often dedicating a poem to a deceased loved one such as his grandmother or his brother that died too early; in fact there is one poem written about his deceased dog going to “Dog heaven.”
What I felt from his poetry was his gentlemanly respect for all of his readers, and his intrinsic enjoyment of writing poetry. Unlike some poets whose ego personifies arrogance by breaking all established rules of poetry, Christopher W. Boyden “plays within the rules” of established poetic prose, and thusly commands the respect for his ingenious wordsmithing of English. He enables his words to dance off the pages into the reader’s mind. As I have learned some of his poems have been scored to music, one can see the beautiful imagery and chivalry he portrays as being within a class of writing analogous to masters who come to my mind such as Robert Frost, James Joyce or even Ogden Nash.
Questions in the Balance is an ideal gift book to give to anyone for any occasion, or to keep for your own home library so your friends and family can enjoy over and over. It is a book that can be picked up, read, and then placed down until a future time; as each poem is merely a page or two in length. After reading this book from cover to cover, I did something I don’t often do ~ I read it all again. After all, with so many of my own memories being triggered by Christopher W. Boyden’s lovely writing, how could I resist an encore performance of such cerebral stimulation?