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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
In his introduction to Bard Bart: Poetic Rhymes and Punchlines, Barton Johnson writes, “At the very least this book is a tangible part of my life’s legacy, something profoundly and intimately personal to offer to the world.” These words prove to be true because this work appears not only to be intimate and stellar, but a generous gift of poetry and thoughts that will excite the minds of poetry lovers, and warm hearts with its rhythms and the seasons of life captured in this collection.
The poet's voice is unique, but the tone reflects the themes that are covered in this wide selection, with great rhyming patterns, rich diction, and syntax that obeys a specific set of rules. But what I found most interesting about the poems are the thoughts that drive their underlying currents, the art that accompanies each stanza, and the rhythm that brings about the sweet music which makes them utterly delectable.
Each poem has a note attached to it, an insight, an explanation, something that captures its essence. The poems cover a diversity of themes — love, life, family, hard work, friendship, existence, fortunes, inner freedom, and everything in between. One has the impression of listening to a voice that speaks of its existence, but that very voice captures elements of our intimate humanity and does so with unusual clarity. One of my favorite poems in this collection is “Lucky” and it pulled me in with the power of its message and the elegance of its form. Hear the first stanza:
“I’m so lucky to live the life I live,
I’d not covet any other.
If God had a different life to give,
I’d not trade mine for another.”
Bard Bart: Poetic Rhymes and Punchlines is a gorgeous collection with some gems for everyone. The poems are thoughtfully written, and the author remains faithful to the depth of the message and the elegance of form. Barton Johnson is a gifted poet and he has a voice that will reverberate in the hearts of readers long after they are done reading him. But the mysterious pull to return to the poems and seek their hidden import again and again will always haunt readers.