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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Near Scattered Praise Lies Our Substantial Endeavor is a collection of poems by Ron Penoyer. Titled after one of the pieces in the collection, it consists of a wide variety of topics, settings, tones, forms, rhythms, and rhymes. References to classical or historical figures or places are dotted throughout. Some of the images are raw or blunt while others are delicate or subtle, evoking different emotional responses as the reader navigates through the collection. Penoyer groups the poems into three sections, though only the third, “Fragments and Petites Essais,” is different in form and style. He explains in an author’s note that the first two are divided by a time of life-threatening events; hence their titles incorporate “Ante” and “Post.”
In Near Scattered Praise Lies Our Substantial Endeavor, Ron Penoyer gives us a collection of poetry that is rich in imagery even with brevity. The variety of topics and forms is impressive, but even more so is the range and depth of emotional responses that his words can evoke. At times I was amused. At times I was upset. Clarity one minute. Confusion the next. Simplicity and complexity swirled in alternating currents. The world bloomed in joyful apple blossoms on one day and ended in a frustratingly full trash dumpster on another. It takes a master of the craft to span such widths and depths of imagery and emotions in the few words or lines of a poem. Ron Penoyer is clearly a master of his art.