The Color Symphonies
BlazeVOX Books (2014)
Reviewed by F.T. Donereau for Rebecca’s Reads (9/14)
5 stars Universes Colors Running Through Deep Layered Poems
When I first realized Wade Stevenson's book of poetry, “The Color Symphonies” would use the world's colors as a motif running throughout the collection, I wondered how, without straining too hard and breaking the thing, it might be possible to accomplish this feat, manage to find ways to keep it interesting and bring forth ideas in poem after poem, while adhering to such a self imposed restriction. The collection, after all, runs two hundred and eighty-four pages. Imagination and heart are wonderful advantages though. When the creative mind is engaged, and a deep flow, a wide-open vision, is at hand, bright lights can be left on the page, landing from any number of angles.
The triumph of these poems is, indeed, the imagination and heart of Mr. Stevenson. There must be a well-tended core to any poet, if he or she is going to be able to grab hold of a reader's mind and soul and make them feel. Here we have works of art rendered with brushstrokes similar to a great painter. Colors explode forth in almost every piece, splashing the eye and engaging the senses. Luckily, they are not one note wonders, all feeling and no substance. The author builds descriptive layers that, at least seemingly, lay down tangible place settings. The esoteric rides over these works. But also, there exists the concrete. It is a feat not often accomplished, but still yourself a moment and read these lines: “Orange is dying and it roars.” “Just don't stand there like a pig/routing your snout in a slimy/ under-water hardly good enough for the fishes.” “A sudden surge of black,/tornado vortices, a web/of powerful deep lines...” Tremendous. Full. Visceral. A poetry of shimmering worlds, alive at the side of your vision. Yet solid too, the sense of earth and human endeavor coursing in them. The poet that cuts both ways, making you stand up and see.
There is something of the novel to Stevenson's “The Color Symphonies.” You feel at the end, as if you have been told a story. Beauty. Color. The human soul. It is laid alive here. You understand a little more about your everyday walk upon the earth after coming to the end of this cycle of poems. I think you will be intensely aware of your surroundings, the depth of life on earth, after taking in Mr. Steven's Symphonies. Because we're a fallible animal, the gist of such won't last. The great blessing though, is that these poems don't fade upon the touch. You can return to them, as I have, read them over again, ingest them anew. Each time brings a new color to the pallet. More resides between the web of lines on each page than a first reading allows you to know. It is a pleasure when a poem can give you more than one answer, one sensation. Here, Wade Stevenson manages to do it again and again. Open your heart, your eyes, and your ears. Dive in and enjoy.
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Check out The Color Symphonies by Wade Stevenson here