Among the Dying Violets


Poetry - General
130 Pages
Reviewed on 05/02/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers' Favorite

When I come across poetry I'm excited because I experience and embrace the thoughts, emotions, and transparency of the author. With over thirty poems in Among the Dying Violets by Barb Shadow, the author did not disappoint. Poems like Grandpa, My Father, Unspoken, and Moms Don't Die reflect the personal encounters of the author as rawness, fear, and memories flooded the pages. As the reader turns each page they will encounter a wave of emotions from familiarity maybe pertaining to their personal story to staring into the abyss of the author's journey. Read, reflect, embrace, release, share and heal during your time in reading this book of poems.

Among the Dying Violets by Barb Shadow is a book of poems that is a true testament to the various journeys that we each experience at different phases of our lives. Life happens to all of us, from bad relationships, loss, death, and memories to love especially in the times that we're living in now. A book of poems like this creates an up-close and personal experience in letting the reader know that they're not alone and that with persistence, belief, and faith they can overcome any obstacle. In this book, you will see and feel the challenges of the author from beginning to end. With each step throughout the poems, you will also see the transition of hope, healing, and victory. If you love poetry, especially about the highs and lows of life's adventures, this one is highly recommended. Get your copy today.

Edith Wairimu

Among the Dying Violets by Barb Shadow is a courageous collection of poems that confronts painful past events and concludes with a hopeful ending. The poem “Grandpa” recounts beautiful times spent with the poet’s grandfather as he took her to school and final memories of him. The first verses paint an image of his home. In the poem “My Father,” the poet expresses understanding of her father’s distant nature after reading letters left behind by her grandfather: “As you aged/ I think Grandpa needed to show me/ Needed to let us know/ Why you were so tortured/ His regret.” Loss, grief, and hope are central themes. The poem “Let it Go” expresses anger and the need to let go of painful memories: “It churns in me/ I should just close my eyes/ But something in me needs to see/ Has to touch the nerve.”

The poems vary in structure; some are long and contain detailed events, others are short and direct. Some utilize rhetorical questions to examine past actions and choices made such as in the poem “I’ll Never Know” which questions why someone in the poet’s life made different choices. The poet’s tone also changes, effectively expressing her thoughts and perspectives in each poem. The poet uses an aggrieved tone to express anger in the poem “Gone”: “But/ truly/ we died years before/ Do not back me into a corner/ I’m armed with the truth and I’m not afraid to use it.” The poem “It’s the Simple Things in Life…” shows optimism beyond chaos and adversity through its more lively tone. Among the Dying Violets by Barb Shadow is a moving, poignant poetry collection.

K.C. Finn

Among the Dying Violets is a collection of poetry penned by Barb Shadow. The book is the debut poetry collection from the author that explores the journey of their life as it touches on themes of grief and love. The author uses poetry to help process their experience of losing their family members over a short period of time, and eventually healing from that loss and being able to love again. It should be noted that the poems also discuss a difficult marriage and alcoholism, which some readers may find challenging, but the topics are handled with sensitivity.

Author Barb Shadow has delivered a collection of inspiring and thought-provoking poems. From the moment I started reading the poems, I could feel the author's passion and was touched by the personal details in the work. One of the things that I enjoyed the most about this collection was how evocative the word constructions were, and the author’s ability to immerse you in the poems even if you’ve not been through a similar experience. Among the Dying Violets explores one person’s journey from loss and pain to hope and love, and encourages you to see the beauty in the world and life. My personal favorites from this collection were ‘Childhood Memories’ and ‘I Can Breathe’, which I felt particularly highlighted the author’s talent for imagery and emotive writing. I found the tone of the poems personal yet empowering, and I look forward to reading more of Shadow’s work in the future. I would not hesitate to recommend Among the Dying Violets to those looking for an inspiring collection of poems that explores the highs and lows of life.