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Sharmagne Leland-St. John-Sylbert

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Unsung Songs A Collection of Poetry
by Sharmagne Leland-St. John-Sylbert   

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Books by Sharmagne Leland-St. John-Sylbert
· Contingencies A Third Collection of Poetry
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Publisher:  Quill and Parchment Press ISBN-10:  0976424401 Type: 


Copyright:  May 2004 ISBN-13:  9780976424406

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Quill and Parchment

A book of poetry about love and about loss, about grief and about profound happiness. Witty poems about the human condition and poems about my Native American culture.

 Unsung Songs ~ A Collection of Poetry is a slim volume which reads almost like a memoire.  The format is  34 pages of poetry, a song lyric ( A Calico Apron) and a short prose piece. (Murmur.)

The book cover features an original watercolour , a still life wiht roses in a pitcher, painted by the author.

Included is the poet's Pushcart Prize nominated poem I Said Coffee.

I Said Coffee

I said coffee
I didn't say,
"would you
like to cup
my warm
soft breasts
in your
ring less fingered

I said coffee
I didn't say,
"would you
like to
run your tongue
along my neck
just below
my left ear-lobe?"

I said coffee
I didn't say,
"would you
like to
hold me
in your arms
and feel my heart
skip beats
as you press your
hard, lean body
up against mine
until I melt
into you
with desire?"

I said coffee
as we stood there
in the jasmine
scented night
my car door
like some modern day
bundling board
separating us,
protecting us
from ourselves
and lust

I said,
"would you
like to go for
a cup of coffee?"
I didn't say,
"would you
like to brush
your lips
across mine
as you move silently
to bury your face
in my long, silky,
raven black hair?"

But you said,
"I can't
I'm married
I can't trust myself
to be alone
with you."
So I looked you
dead in the eye
and repeated
"I said coffee"

Professional Reviews

A Fine Collection by a Distinctive Poet
Review by David Matthews:

Sharmagne Leland-St. John-Sylbert writes straight from the heart as true poets do. Unsung Songs exhibits a wide range of interests, themes, and tones, from the romantic lyricism of 'Oh Life,' exemplified by these lines: 'Love where have you gone / Just when I thought I'd found you / Snowflakes dance like feathers round my head' to the deadpan puncturing of the male ego and its assumption of sexual implication where there is none in 'I Said Coffee.' A woman thinks of her loved one who is far away in 'I Sing You the Morning,' whose opening lines speak with elegance and simplicity, while 'I Will Dance for You' addresses issues of racial and cultural slurs, discrimination, sensitivity, and tolerance in language that is uncompromising in its principles without being didactic or combative. Unsung Songs demonstrates that Sharmagne Leland-St. John-Sylbert is a distinctive poet who breaks her own trail with clarity and vision. This is a book to read and return to with ever-renewed joy.

Unsung Songs
Unsung Songs
By: Sharmagne Leland-St. John
43 pages
30 poems ~1 prose piece / $12.00
ISBN: 0-9764244-0-1
ISBN13: 978-0-9764244-0-6
Published by Quill and Parchment Press
A Division of Quill and

Review by: jacob erin-cilberto

Are you sitting down? You might need to be if you read “Unsung Songs” a book of poetry by Sharmagne Leland –St. John. Ms. Leland-St. John says, "Poems are songs without music and frequently a song which will never be sung to the person it was written to, or about, or for.

This book is a magical autobiography in poetry that will knock you down with its impact. The poems contain variance in style, theme and tone. The wonderfully sarcastic “I Said Coffee” will make you smile with its tongue-in-cheek humor. The poem begins with “i said coffee/ i didn’t say,/ ‘would you like to cup/ my warm/soft breasts/ in your /un-calloused,/ long/ tapered/ ringless fingered/ hands?’”---and just keeps getting better and more sardonic from there until the wonderful twist at the end.

Michael will bring a tear to your eye with its forlorn glow: “quiet now brooding/I wonder where your thoughts have been” and “moods are always changing/just like the English weather”---probably like most of us find our moods changing.

“Unsung Song to Ron” from which the book derives its title, will grab your gut just where it hurts most, the heart of it. “I’m the one…/ to gently ease your pain/ The one who’ll try through silence/ to win your love again.”

“Goodbye” is an eerily sad piece which expresses that sentiment we have all felt when losing someone who is so close to us we have felt a part of them and them a part of us. “Heartache here I come/ make
way for your newborn son.” Now a piece is missing, but not from this wonderful poetic ride. Just as on a rollercoaster, we laugh, scream, cry and yell as we read this offering from Sharmagne that is sure to be a ticket to a very strong emotional journey that will have you pondering the works long after you have put the book down.

In “Poetry of Lies” she says “You filled my childhood/with your poetry of lies” but in this book the poet fills our hearts with the “poetry of truth”! The admission was well worth the enjoyment of reading something that on many levels I could relate to so well. I strongly suggest this book of poems and thank the author for writing it so I could “ride” with it.

jacob erin-cilberto has been writing poetry for over 35 years and has published 8 chapbooks including “Penguins and Other Matters of Black and White” and his most recent “Fast Food, Slow Mind”---he has published in numerous journals and small magazines including: Café Review, Wind Journal, Skyline Magazine, Voices, Pegasus and Parnassus. He teaches poetry workshops for the Heartland Writers Guild and for the Southern Illinios Writers Guild and currently teaches English literature and composition at John A. Logan community college in Carterville, Illinios.

Barnes & Noble Customer Reviews:

August 11, 2006. The poetry in 'Unsung Songs' is crisp and full of beautiful imagery. The heart of this poet shines through the work it is read. I would strongly recommend not only to those who already love poetry, but even to those who ordinarily would not pick up a book of poems. The pieces in this book are engaging. They will not confuse the average reader but will also challenge the most avid poetry reader. Enjoy!

August 27, 2007. Unsung Songs is a very warm and personal expression of the poet's life experiences. Through her dedications the reader gains a deeper understanding of each poem and the feelings evoked become the reader's own. With a keen ability to convey the world around her, the poet holds nothing back when it comes to wearing her heart on her sleeve. This collection leaves you begging for more.

February 7, 2008. Unsung Songs is very unique and expresses the Poet's creativity and vision. Sharmagne Leland-St.John-Sylbert writes from her heart and expresses her poetry from within herself from what she is expressing to the outer world. Sharmagne's poetry is a deep understanding and feeling of what she is expressing in each poem. '/Unconditional Love' 'I will Dance For You. Sharmagne's Poetry will live within you.

August 20, 2008. Unsung Songs, is a poetry book that lilts from subject to subject. Whether it's writing about why promises are sacred. Or memories of what a summer should involve when envisioning it for our children. The poetry throughout weaves a story we want to know and look forward to its spellbinding ending.

Her song has not gone unsung. This beautiful book is an intelligent and heart felt work that will be enjoyed by all who read it for many years to come. Deep and moving works like this are worth the time to read.

February 24, 2008. I found it interesting, challenging and entertaining. Interesting because of the broad range of subjects as well as her change of gender in some of the verses. She seems to almost write in different styles at times. Challenging because it tended to make me want to try to understand exactly what had given birth to a particular verse. Entertaining simply because I enjoyed the reading of it.

February 7, 2008. This books sings like the heart of a woman!

Unsung Songs is a collection of poetry as varied as her interests, generally reflecting her own life experiences, but sometimes are merely bursts of pure creative energy expressing her lust for living. 'Nasturtiums', in particular, half poem, half recipe, is a masterpiece of culinary imagery.

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