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Book Review

This book review is for my chapbook:

Tempest, a collection of poems from an enlightened Nubian soul (chapter 2 in TAKE MY HAND WALK WITH ME)

I published it in 1997. This book shows my early works in poetry and taught me the ups and downs of self-publishing.

From the magazine: Independence Boulevard, October 1999

Published in Charlotte, NC

Poetry Reviews, by Barbara K. Lawing

Tempest: Rickey K. Hood

1997, UniqueVerses Publishing

Does your horoscope ever predict some obscure nothing, and right after you read it, the dumb thing happens? I’d been saying something was true, the astrologer said, but I was advised to check my information to make sure it wasn’t erroneous. Soon afterward I began reading Rickey K. Hood’s chapbook called Tempest. I didn’t like it. The dislike was based on the back cover, where quite a few editing errors jumped out at me. I very much dislike editing errors. They steal the pleasure of reading. How can I relax and enjoy reading with errors popping up like spooks in a haunted house? They make me want to shriek. But I’d agreed to do the review, so I read on. The music of Hood’s lines began to play in my veins. I could hear the rise and fall of his voice as clearly as though he were standing in front of me.

Zing, zing! Zap! He had me. I was enchanted by his musical words. They convey his vitality and joy. After reading this little chapbook, I’m convinced he has the heart of a true poet, marked by a spirit of tolerance –of love for life and the mystery of creation.

Real. That’s what his poems are. The rhythms and heartaches and praises and humor unique to African-Americans.

Well, now, I guess is have to admit that horoscope was right. I’ve been saying poorly edited writing isn’t worth reading, Truth is, Hood’s book is edited fairly well, but the errors on the cover made me think I wouldn’t like it before I ever opened it.

Now don’t expect me to read books that are pocked with so many mistakes they look like my legs when mosquitoes work them over, but with that surprising discovery of how much I liked Hood’ chapbook, I did some thinking about this poetry revolution we’re in the middle of, and decided we must not categorically diss what is poorly edited. In the new world of computer publishing where everybody and his cousin can publish a book, we will cheat ourselves of umpteen grassroots treasures of we confine ourselves to the perfectly edited. And I do consider Hood’s book a treasure. The volume is weak in metaphor though, so I’m hoping in the future he gives due attention to a component of poetry that’s just as important as the music: metaphorical imagery.

Fish Out of Water, Ronald M.

1999, Juniper press

The delight of Hood’s words coupled with this big change in attitude seemed enough for one day, but there was still a chapbook in the review box: fish out of water. Right away the book gave me the sense that it’s full of well-edited and carefully crafted poems. Was my first impressing correct? Yes, but--- with the pleasure of Hood’s poems still fresh in my memory, Ronald M. poems suffered by comparison.

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