Karma Wept

Poetry - General
72 Pages
Reviewed on 07/01/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Karma Wept by Joan Wiley is an anthology of the author's original poetry. The collection totals over two dozen pieces broken into four distinct parts. These include Devils, Death, Disillusion, and Dreams with work that ranges in tone tenor, length, and even formatting, from the weaving of a woman's illicit coercion that brings forth a newborn child in part one's "Angel" to the prose poetry conveying the dramatic descent of a poet who believes their work is toxic, but soon has its true power revealed by a crip's incantation in part two's "A Poet's Heart." Others, such as part three's "Burn," deliver a clipping, eight-verse piece about severe animosity of one that fuels another, and part four's airy and beautiful transition to lyrical love in "True Romance."

Joan Wiley sharpens the quill and truly does wield it with the talent of classical poets in Karma Wept. Poetry is far more subjective than any other form of writing, but for the most part, it's clear to those who know it when poetry is good and when it is not. Even if it doesn't resonate personally, there is a depth revealed that sets it apart. You can walk through an art gallery and feel the quality of work. The same can be said for Wiley, who possesses the clever complexity to effectively use allegory and blend it with rhythmic schemes. A fantastic example of this is in "Mike Versus the Devil," where an evildoer believes he's outwitted the architect of evil until he realizes his folly and cries, “There’s been a mistake! I want to file a complaint. I’ve been cheated. To suffer is not my fate!” I loved this anthology and would give it a whole bucket of stars if I could.

Astrid Iustulin

Poetry collections are always fascinating, but when the author is a refined poet like Joan Wiley, the pleasure of reading them is ineffable. This is what I experienced when I read her poetry collection Karma Wept. Divided into four sections (Devils, Death, Disillusion, and Dreams), Karma Wept owes its title to the personification of karma in a woman who observes those around her. The collection gathers both short and long poems, the latter being several pages long. Therefore, while the length of the short poems determines their conciseness and candor, the long ones are as detailed and intriguing as stories. This is what creates the beauty of this book.

Karma Wept is an intense and inspired collection in which you perceive the author's talent at every step. Joan Wiley has written a collection that I read with curiosity and pleasure and it made me think about poetry in a new way. I have never read a book containing story poems before this one, and I consider them the most pleasant surprise of Karma Wept. It is not just their poetic form but also their subjects that generated a deep interest in me. As for the short poems, they are enchanting for their rhythm. Due to all these elements, there is no wonder that Karma Wept is a collection that is never dull and offers something new on every page. I recommend this collection to all lovers of poetry because it will introduce them to an exceptional world, just as it did to me.

Lesley Jones

Karma Wept by Joan Wiley is a unique and thought-provoking compilation of poetry, ballads, and short stories that will spark your imagination and self-reflection. This collection will take you on a journey of deep thought into the many aspects of life that we all face. We are reminded that we all have free will to make independent life choices and every action will have consequences, whether good or bad. How do we perceive others and ourselves? Do we allow our ego to rule our authentic selves and lead us toward negative behavior? Discover the true meaning of moral justice, the law of karma, and its place in the Universe. Do we reap what we sow in this life or the afterlife? The collection explores subjects such as trust, gratitude, adultery, revenge, manipulation, and how these emotions affect our lives here on earth and beyond.

Karma Wept by Joan Wiley is a beautifully written collection that warms your soul and inspires you to think outside the box when it comes to yourself and others. The words flow effortlessly off the page and compel you toward deep introspection and self-reflection. In Mike Versus The Devil, we are reminded that our choices will have consequences that we cannot escape. Your ego can either propel you toward goodness or selfishness. I thought this line was extremely poignant: “Mortal souls know what I aim to achieve. I am honest in the bad I do. Everyone knows my game and only have themselves to blame.” We are encouraged to take off the masks we wear to please society, to evaluate what is truly important so we discover our true selves. I loved the essence of Monster and I believe any creative person will absolutely resonate with the poem. ‘The dance of my hand, my pen, and wit lead me to trapes divine, gliding over a crisp, clean, white parchment, in a frolic of imagination, designed from my perceptions.’ The collection definitely packs a powerful punch and will encourage some honest and meaningful contemplation.

Pikasho Deka

Karma Wept by Joan Wiley is a poetry book containing beautifully written short poems and poetic narratives spanning multiple pages. Encompassing a wide spectrum of topics and ideas, the book is divided into four parts -- Devils, Death, Disillusion, and Dreams. Each poem delves deep into its subject matter through a diverse set of characters, stories, and abstract ideas. 'Mike Versus The Devil' tells the story of an unrepentant man trying to trick the Devil into allowing him a passage to heaven. In 'Poetic Justice', a vengeful wife connives to take revenge on her unsuspecting adulterous husband, who tries to murder her. 'A Poet's Heart' is a story poem about a talented poet consumed by apathy and struggling to find meaning in his life.

If you love poetry books, Karma Wept is a must-read for you. Joan Wiley seems to have a knack for painting vivid imagery with her words that draw you in and make your imagination run wild. Although the poems and poetic narratives may differ in terms of subject matter, structure, and sometimes even style, they seem bound together by the common recurring theme of karma. Joan Wiley's structural arrangement provides a smooth flow to her poetry, containing different types of poems and narratives -- traditional, abstract, and experimental. The poems themselves evoke a wide range of emotions like melancholy, apathy, love, and hope. Each poem felt intimate and personal, exploring the human condition through fantasy and abstract ideas. I especially enjoyed 'A Poet's Heart', 'Such is Life', 'Upside Down', and 'Chalice of Peace'. Highly recommended.

Cassie Widjaja

Joan Wiley's powerful poetry collection Karma Wept is as intriguing as it is morbid. Ranging from poetic narratives and ballads to shorter poems, it is the perfect blend of fiction and poetry. These poems are divided into four sections, which are devils, death, disillusion, and dreams. The collection is topically expansive, and its poetic themes navigate subjects of the supernatural, mythology (mythos), future or past settings, dystopian ideas, death, foul play, love, lore, and the human condition. Heavily laden with hidden meanings, Joan's poetry entices the reader into second-guessing their interpretation of the poems. Explicit descriptions of the sometimes gruesome scenes have the reader swept away and enthralled in the story. Each poem is unique and alluring in its way; however, combined, it is a force to be reckoned with.

When I first read Karma Wept, I was entirely blown away! Joan Wiley's voice is easily recognizable in her superb writing. Thanks to her vivid imagery, I had no trouble picturing the scenes and perceiving what the character felt at that moment. Never shying away from sensitive topics, the author embraces them, even the subject of death, and captures its beauty. A poem, in particular, that stood out to me was 'Beloved' as it shows people's habit of manipulating the self-image they present to others to become more loveable, while the true beauty lay hidden beneath. Nevertheless, I believe that each poem in this collection delivers an important message, and it would be a shame for anyone to miss it.