I’ve never been asked to do a book review before so I wasn’t quite sure the process or procedure in sharing how one feels after reading the works of another and then your opinion being available to the author themselves. But here goes.
James Hannah has been composing poetry and prose for several years and has been awarded numerous awards for his work since 2003. He shares within the pages of his biography of his love of God and that “the whole manuscript of prose and poetry is my expression of His greatness of humanity and nature.”
As I flipped through the 245 page book filled with expressions centered around nature, life lessons, tributes and observations, one can easily see James Hannah truly writes from the heart. I will have to say that it’s very difficult to actually review, criticize or judge a writer of poetry compared to one who is composing pure fiction and you have the opportunity to share whether the story made sense. Poetry like songwriting is very personal and no one string of lyrics or lines are the same for any one person. As a poet writes, what is etched upon paper is a result of the feelings surrounding the individual at that time. Depending on the style of the poet, not all stanzas will necessarily flow or rhyme, they may even digress to another line of thought, but soon enough the poem will bring you back to whence you first began and when it comes to poetry, it’s usually all about the journey.
Each page of this collection of inner thoughts reveals what the world looks like and how it is interpreted through the eyes of James Hannah which can encompass anything from a Angel to war to a very small creature like the frog. As James’ poem reads, “A small energetic thing he is, hopping, hopping merrily along. Ever so steadily, giving us a croak now and then, to perhaps warn, Hey, I’m here, don’t step so hastily, watch where’ll you’re walking, So I may live another day, another scape if you may, another day at play, For I’m God’s creation held in high esteem.” The title of this poem is “The Frog” and as I read through each word, each conjecture, I was able to gather more than just a poem about a frog. I realized this metaphorically symbolizes the downtrodden; those who feel society has forgotten about them and as a reminder, they call out or make noise, as if to say, “Please don’t forget about me, even though your eyes may not fix upon me or my circumstance because of the busy life you lead.” And then James ends the poem with “For I’m God’s creation, held in high esteem.” Isn’t that true for everyone of us and thus why The Salvation Army exists. To share the love of Christ first and foremost which then provides everyone with the opportunity to see just how incredible and special they are.
I applaud James for reaching into his soul and being willing to share his deepest experiences and sincere sentiments with others and I believe that as you glide through each sonnet, you too will appreciate the honesty that illuminates.