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Review 6: Fire and Souls

Fire and Souls
by Kevin King
Copyright: © 2008
84 pages
$2.00 E-book
$12.95 Paperback

I’ve been a reader, writer, and lover of poetry all my life. Many many years ago, I self-published a pop up book of my poems back in the 6th or 7th grade with some pieces of cardboard and pretty contact paper for a class project. Two years ago I used Lulu to self publish a book of every poem I’d ever written. So, since beginning the LLBR in March, I’ve been on the look out for another inspiring poet. I found one in Kevin King.

Based on his author profile in the back of the book, Mr. King is a well traveled man. He grew up in Louisiana, went to school in Texas, and did mission work in Ecuador. He’s worn many hats: a sign language interpreter, a robotics engineer, and a database programmer. His varied life has obviously played a huge influence on his writing, and his voice is indeed one worth listening to. He even has a poem about it called “Please Listen.”

Please listen to me
Not just to my words
But listen to what’s inside.
My feelings are there
Within my eyes hid
If you ask I will confide.

For those who may also be well read in poetry, I know what you are thinking…Eh, that’s nothing special. It’s probably nothing new you haven’t read before. Well, as poets we all have poems like that which only convey their true meaning when spoken aloud. There is no rhyme, no real pattern, just a plain personal verse that remains lifeless on the page unless spoken. And there are a few of Kevin’s longer pieces that are indeed like that. But that’s the beauty of poetry really. Like art, it’s left up to interpretation. But then there are some of Kevin’s shorter poems that stand up at attention and just pop out at you, showing his true talent at word use and rhyme. “In Memory of a Poet” is a prime example. Here is the entire piece…

An echo down the halls of time
Where dead men speak in metered rhyme
The poet’s soul imprinted there
Throughout all time his thoughts to share
The man is dead but is not gone
In fiery verse his heart lives on.

Some of the poet’s lighter verse reminded me of good old Shel Silverstein and the black ink drawings that often accompanied his published work. Although there are no illustrations in Kevin’s book, I almost wished there were. I printed out the download and found myself inspired to add my own pencil drawings in the margins of some of his “fact-of-life” poems. One of my favorites was actually a poem about artistry called “Please, Draw me a Sheep.”

Paint me a vision
Draw me a dream
Swirl me in acrylic wonder
For the world seems gray
As untouched canvass
Is it dead, or is it waiting
For you to give it life?

Kevin writes of the topics every poet is often inspired by: life, love, passion, art, youth, philosophy, religion, nature, the list goes on and on. It is his unique use of words and imagery that give these topics new meaning. Here’s a vivid verse about abortion from a poem called “The Children Cry:”

Shining white lab coats and razor sharp steel
A heartbeat unheard as a soft saddened sigh
Unplanned and unwanted, not too young to feel
A cruel choice to silence the children’s cry.

It’s been months since I wrote a poem myself, and years since the evenings I spent standing between a microphone and a barstool in front of latte lovers reading angry verse out loud in coffee shops. Mr. King’s book was a nice trip down memory lane for me. There is indeed a poet of some type in all of us, and those of us like King who can capture that essence and purity on the page deserve the spotlight. When we can pull back the heavy curtain that hides our inhibitions and express ourselves so personally, it’s almost like good therapy. I commend Kevin King on such an excellent collection of his poems that succeed at just that! The last verse of his poem, “Life,” says it all quite perfectly:

The spirit yearning to be free
Struggles ever against the flesh
Make your choices daily.
This life is more than what we see.

One Response

  1. Thanks for the review, Shannon, I’m glad you enjoyed the poetry. Unfortunately my talent for visuals is limited to words, I would have drawn illustrations if I could have done more than just crooked stick figures..

    I love Shel Silverstein, and Poe – now there’s a combination. There are so many things in life that are amazing, I hope I touched on a few that will strike a memorable note with anyone who reads them.


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