Review: Glimpses of a Fractured Soul by Mercedes Lewis

| August 21, 2017

Mercedes Lewis as other writers is like Lady Godiva riding down the street naked. —

by Jillian Reed

There are few of us that rush out to buy a book of poetry today, but I propose to you that Mercedes Lewis’ book Glimpses of a Fractured Soul should be the exception, even if you are not particularly fond of poetry.  You may well ask “why should I read this book if I don’t like poetry?” My reply to you would be, Mercedes Lewis’ book is different—it is written for you.  As a Professor of English, I can tell you why my students, as may you, have a dislike for poetry. They claim the language is stilted, the meaning difficult to unravel, and the themes and ideas uninteresting. In summary, they are saying the writers do not successfully communicate their language, ideas, and emotions to the readers’ souls. Well, enter Mercedes Lewis.

Ms. Lewis has a good strong control of what a poem is at its best, a communication to our souls from hers, and this book is a communication to our lesbian souls. Historically, a poem comes from the Greek poíema, meaning a “thing made,” and a poet is defined in ancient terms as “a maker of things.” So if a poem is a thing made, for what purpose is it made? Who is it made for? First, it must be made to whisper to the intended audience, the poet’s readers, and a message from the poet’s soul that resonates and speaks. This message is what Mercedes Lewis sends to us with each poem.  In her own words, she has “taken the dare” to reveal herself and her themes of self (identity), love, redemption, and resurrection within a shared culture. These poems are made for us. She reflects the people, places, and times of our lives, while mirroring her concerns of ‘self’ and ‘sisterhood’.  

Before I lose you here with my own stilted words, let me explain that these poems are often fun. You may well find in these poems an ex-partner, a recent amore, your life-love, your demons and angels, and even yourself among the persona of her poems. Certainly, I could give this book to several of my friends with a comment written—“do you think this might be you?” written across a poem or a page. Or, a poem could be read aloud to someone (which I just had to do while reading this book), and after reading the poem, you might say “Does this poem remind you of anyone?”

These poems are recollections from Ms. Lewis’ life, crafted in a liberated voice, a voice that enjoys the use of rhyme. In her poem ‘Keep Up’, Mercedes says “I love to rhyme/ though some poets/ look at me as if/ it is a crime.” Indeed, her works are created in her own style crafted with a love of rhyme and independent rhythms. The poems here are not bound by the often stilted and complicated rules and rhetorical demands of others; indeed, they are characterized by the casual and honest flow of a life.

However, don’t think that this fun and well-crafted poetry is simply light and fluffy.  In Glimpses of A fractured Soul there are songs of pain–poems of hurt, longing, and love– at times deeply erotic and at others tolerant and serene. The poet shares her acceptance and peace as well as her longing and desire. In other words, she is us. She is the voice of experience and life, at times celebrating and at others—perhaps– wishing life had not taken that other turn.

Ms. Lewis as other writers is like Lady Godiva riding down the street naked. These poems reveal the naked inner thoughts, secrets, mystery, and the individual soul of the writer. And, unlike Lady Godiva, they say “look!  Share my heart and soul!” As Ms. Lewis states in her dedication, “For me, writing poetry is a solitary, cathartic and personal endeavor, and the level of emotional exposure almost paralyzed me. Nevertheless, I have decided; those that see me see me anyway.”  True artists accept their truth.  They bare all to us when they craft an honest and meaningful message.  Mercedes Lewis is such an artist. After reading her poems, I think I know her.  Someday, I would like to meet her.

 Glimpses of a Fractured Soul by Mercedes Lewis is published by  Regal Crest Enterprises (March 29, 2017).

Mercedes is a Floridian published in the erotic anthology Women In Uniform: Medics and Soldiers and Cops, Oh My!, and the poetry anthology, Roses Read: Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 3, and Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars. Find her on Facebook at Mercedes Lewis, Author, or her blog, https://wordpress.com/mercedeslewisblog. Mercedes is Director of Events for the Golden Crown Literary Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization for education, and the recognition and promotion of lesbian literature, http://www.goldencrown.org/
 
Buy Glimpses here:
 
and at Barnes and Noble stores. Call first, if Glimpses is not in stock, they will order a copy for you.
 

Reviewer Jillian Reed is a writer and Professor of English and Humanities currently living in Gulfport, FL.  She has authored numerous articles and presentations on “narrative and culture” and has published poetry and short fiction. She is currently working on a novel.

 

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