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A first book of poetry written over the past 30 years of author's life.
From the lush and sensual to the quiet and serene, "Passion's Evidence" opens up a newly observed world for women and men to appreciate and experience in this collection of finely crafted poems.
from "Picking Strawberries:"
Gnashing incisors into this June dessert,
my saliva blends into rosy juices.
I taste the first rush of summer.
It pounds on my skin and hair.
Windswept grass crawling into poison ivy,
bluebells, hyacinths and daffodils nudging my legs -
fields where strawberries bend and sag.
My fingers drool scarlet like a wine maker's.
Passion's evidence -
too succulent and sweet for summer.
I let juices run down my fingers
and knees in crimson worms,
sticky streams hard to wash off.
Don't rub them off.
It isn't time.
Passion's Evidence by AllBooks Review
Fifield has an ability to shift gears, with startling contrasts. In her opening poem, she moves from strawberry picking, with the juice on her fingers called "passion's evidence," but then to her "knees in crimson worms," and from that to a stream of consciousness: "A space to be alone/to think of you" followed by another shift: "The click of the register rings up trays," and so it's on to business.
This collection of free verse poems is melancholic and nostalgic. Her professional life as a social worker gives depth to some of the poems, for example those about her father in a nursing home. There is the pain that they both feel knowing that this will be his final home. There is pathos in his effort to be more self-sufficient than he can be, forced to surrender to a wheel chair. Particularly poignant is a poem about her husband Roger. "To Roger in the Hospital" begins with an achingly acute description - "The tubes tear at your arms and/ one for drugs/another for urine/and a third dangling down your throat." Then she moves from her sadness - "I mourn for you" - to anger. "But in this hospital,/ you are an experimental rat." Her poetry, like her two novels, is inescapably autobiographical. The photograph on the cover of the moss-covered Florida trees is simply gorgeous.
Writer Bares Her Soul through Poetry
When asked to review a writer's published collection of poetry, I always have a brief moment of hesitation. To me, poetry is such an intensely personal genre in which one person's expressive and soul-wrenching output may be viewed as a jumbled mess to a reader who comes to the material with a different perspective or background. But then I remind myself that what I am expected to offer when I provide my opinion on a poet's work is my specific reaction. I am entitled to review the poetry of another writer because I am entitled to my own emotional response. And, in the case of Passion's Evidence by Barbara Fifield, I was left with an ache over words that conjured up my own thoughts on loss, love and beauty. This was not my first opportunity to read the work of Ms. Fified, as I previously reviewed her novel Lucifer Rising. While I enjoyed her writing style in my initial exposure to her efforts, my appreciation for her talents was multiplied by Passion's Evidence. Fifield shares poetry that she has composed over the past twenty-five years, dividing the pieces into several powerful themes, and every page contains language that carries a message that is not content to lie flat and typed on a page. At the risk of sounding too cliche, this book really does come alive. Perhaps the most difficult section to read was the one dedicated to her late husband, Roger. She writes to him while she sits by his side in the hospital, "I mourn for you,/ my beloved/ my husband/ my angel/ my soul mate," and as she prepares to bury his ashes by the ocean, "Your ashes lie at my bed's foot/ I feel too crippled to disturb them." I could feel the grief emanating from every word that she selected to share her loss, but also understood the love and intimate connection that this man and woman shared. As the mother of a young girl, I was affected by the poems Fifield wrote to her own daughter as she developed into adulthood. She shared the same fears, worries and pride that every mother expresses for their children as they start to make their way in the world. As she writes in "To Mona at 36," "Mona - you dash from job to job and career to/career-/looking for something to bring you joy." These phrases will resonate with many parents who only can watch as their kids search for direction and a calling in life that is rooted in passion. From the pleasure in eating fresh strawberries straight from the vine to her belief in the connection that be found only in true love to the healing powers of quiet moments at the beach, Fifield has seemingly transferred her soul onto the pages of Passion's Evidence and offered herself as an emotional offering to her readers. She shares her highs and her lows, as well as the moments during which she cannot discern exactly how she should be feeling. For those tho appreciate the power that a poem has to capture a moment in time, Passion's Evidence is a recommended addition to your collection.
Passion's Evidence by Anita Finley, editor of
When was the last time you read a book of poetry?Or have you ever? I really love poetry and yet until I reviewed "Passion's Evidence," I can't remember when I last read an entire book of poetry. It was a real treat to read this book of eclectic poems, covering nature, life, death and everything in between.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the author, Barbara Fifield, on my radio show recently and even had her read one of her poems over the radio, which was a real treat. Fifield has written a few novels, but it is obvious that poetry is her real love, something she sees in every situation. She told me that even as a young girl, she wrote poetry and it seems to come very easy to her. She encouraged our listeners who may want to write poetry but don't know how to get started, to just sit down and write about something that interests them or made them happy or sad. She also encouraged people to join poetry and writers' groups where they critique one another's writings.
As you read through the various sections of poems, "Wild Nature," "Love's Music," to name a few, you get an impression that the poet is enjoying things that many of us take for granted. Although her poems are short, she gets right to the point. Also, she photographs many of the pictures in front of each chapter which gives the section a certain flavor. For example, the first poem in her book is entitled: "Picking Strawberries." Listen to some words and you can almost taste the strawberries...
"Moving right to left
row on row,
I am picking strawberries,
blushing rubies of succulent flesh,
food for ancient deities."
Losing her husband when he was only in his early 60s, Fifield shares her sadness about his illness and shows her longing for him in very poignant poems. An excerpt taken from "To Roger In The Hospital," fits so many widowed people who loved and lost a dear one, watching helplessly in a hospital while their loved one is sinking.
"I mourn for you,
my soul mate
But in this hospital
you are an experimental rat."
This 77-page book is worth every penny, whether you keep if for your own collection or purchase it for a gift. It reads quickly, with each poem's meaning easily understood. Fifield has many other poetry books in her heart and soul, and we hope to be reading them soon also.
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