From Peacock Lane

The Poetry and Prose of Emily Evans

Poetry - General
118 Pages
Reviewed on 03/22/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Savannah Aldridge for Readers' Favorite

From Peacock Lane: The Poetry and Prose of Emily Evans is a cultivated, accessible, and thoroughly beautiful collection. Edited and published by Emily’s daughter, this book memorializes the work of a life-long artist and her exceptional eye for capturing the depth of everyday moments. Organized into sections by location such as “Greenwich Village” and “Cocoa Beach,” the work shares vivid descriptions with the reader. Bucolic poems about rural life, familial connections, and a child’s view of disturbing difficulties comprise the opening sections. Later, the scenery shifts to New York with reflections on both the busy, urban aspects of life, along with the still and natural places. Love and loss are highlighted among tropical flora and fauna. The collection concludes with a suburban series that transports the reader into the pain and everyday experiences of not-quite-average people and their spaces.

Emily Evans captured my heart from the first page. From Peacock Lane showcases the poet’s brilliant way of drawing the observer into a moment with a few subtle images. Whether standing alongside a child delighted by baby animals or being overwhelmed with grief in a Floridian paradise, readers will experience the uniqueness and commonality of a life lived through each work. While this collection is artistic, the style is accessible to those beginning their foray into poetry. The poetry aficionado and the beginner alike will be satisfied. I eagerly anticipate the next volumes of this series.

Pikasho Deka

From Peacock Lane: The Poetry and Prose of Emily Evans was edited by her daughter Victoria Winifred and is the first volume of the series. This book includes some deeply intimate poems penned by Evans over the years, spanning a wide variety of topics. It was inspired by her own life experiences living in Ohio, Buffalo, Cocoa Beach, Greenwich Village, and many more places. The poems reveal the beauty in our everyday lives that are to be found in nature, relationships, and art while highlighting some of the struggles that every one of us goes through at some time.

From abstract verses reveling in the mysteries of nature to some mesmerizing lyrics about the wonders of love and romance, From Peacock Lane is a scrumptious treat for any poetry lover. The free-flowing stanzas find a way to pull at your heartstrings, creating vivid imagery in your mind that takes you to places where you want to lose yourself. There is a magnetic and ethereal feel to Emily Evans' poems and you can't help but want to immerse yourself in the pages. Emily's writing has a unique voice that moves you emotionally in a myriad of ways. The beautifully drawn illustrations by Luisa Galstyan are the icing on the cake and blend seamlessly into the narrative. This is a stellar entry into what promises to be a rich and diverse poetry collection.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

It is written that all living creatures come from the dust of the earth and then return to the earth. So, then, what happens to the other forms of being? From Peacock Lane: The Poetry and Prose of Emily Evans declares that the majestic oak “reaches above/ all the houses, it has sheltered countless generations/ of birds and insects.” It has led a noble life and helped many more than a mere human could hope to assist in a lifetime. Humans are the locusts that destroy this mighty tree until “her great limbs and branches/ are amputated.” And then “branches and leaves/ her million existences/ are carted away/ in a wheelbarrow.” Such an ignoble way to make one’s last journey from this life to the next. These are powerful thoughts in a simple narrative poem.

Victoria Winifred has edited her mother’s vast collection of poems and prose. The first book in her published tribute, From Peacock Lane, follows a lyrical, musical journey, a symphony of life, through the poet’s early years as a child on a farm in Ohio to life in Buffalo, Brooklyn, and other places. The poems are mostly narrative in style but rich with the intense use of language and imagery. There are poems about nature, such as The Oak quoted above, and there are others that address some of the more complex and difficult aspects of life with raw and intense images of unsavory experiences. All the works included in this edition pay tribute to a creative mind that saw things more intensely than others. These are works of great literary value to be read repeatedly to absorb the most intense thoughts of a powerful poet, one that found inspiration in the works of Emily Dickinson as well as the world around her. Interspersed with simple, clever line drawings, this book is a treasure.