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Reviewed by Johnny Masiulewicz for Readers' Favorite
"Heavy Bags of Soul" paints a rather dour picture of the modern world. In this engaging collection of poems and prosody is chronicled the trials and pitfalls of an oppressive world that is as absurd as it is tiring. Yet despite this dim outlook on life the book does offer a sense of hope and unity that serves to offset the nihilism of the main theme. Woven throughout the collection - most notable in the author’s modernizations of the classic Socratic dialogue - this theme of unity maintains that although the road of life is an exhaustive one and that all on that road are laden with their own heavy bags, everyone is in this together and only through tackling the challenges of this world together, only through tapping the resources of the equally heavy bags of soul, will everyone can make it through.
Structurally, the aforementioned Socratic dialogues are just one of a variety of literary forms through which the collection’s themes are conveyed. The genre utilized here include both metered and free verse, terse maxims, essays on pop philosophy and cultural movement, and even the occasional bon mot as a punctuation point. This mix of literary formats not only manages to show each and every topical point in a number of different lights, but also challenges the readers who must themselves view each literary format in its own light. Also challenging is the author’s trust in her readers’ intelligence. Though not outwardly acknowledged, that trust is implicit in the author’s habit of using the most diverse and arcane cultural references possible. Citing sources that extend in relevance from Greek taxonomy through quantum physics and on to Top 40 Radio, the topical references may at times have readers wishing they had Wikipedia on speed dial, but do provide for an entertaining, esoteric and intellectually stimulating read.