Northwest Poems

Poetry - General
141 Pages
Reviewed on 01/12/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Northwest Poems is an enrapturing collection of poems by CE Rivers. This diverse poetry collection is divided into six chapters. In the first chapter, "Northwest Poems," the poems feature animals witnessing the bewildering behavior of humans, the different layers of love, and the search for inspiration behind writing poetry. "Fringe Caverns" follows the everyday observations of a narrator, offering some unique perspectives on society at large. "Seattle Karaoke" explores spirituality and its search through different paths. The poems in "The Quietus Caverns" focus on mortality with a light-hearted touch that signifies the inopportune yet inevitable nature of death. "War and Conflict" emphasizes the futility of war and its devastating effects on people. "Oppression in Many Guises" sheds light on the oppression of humanity throughout history and its inevitable ramifications on the general populace.

Using free verse poetry, CE Rivers takes readers on a poetic journey that traverses a lot of thematic terrain with a scrumptious blend of heart, humor, tragedy, and even satire. Northwest Poems cover a wide range of topics and themes, narrated through non-rhyming verses with experimental structural organization that brings a distinct flavor to Rivers' poetry. This collection gives you a lot to think about and calls for a reread. From heavy universal topics such as war and oppression to personal and intimate poems about love and neighbors' cats, Rivers paints a vivid and vibrant portrait of life through these verses. I really liked the dry humor in some of these poems with serious topics. Overall, I had a wonderful time reading this collection, and I think it deserves a diverse range of readers. Highly recommended!

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Northwest Poems by CE Rivers reflects on life. The neighbor’s cat walks funny, lifting its leg to shake. Unsure of the reason, why not try it: walk and shake your leg. The cat merely sits and gives a strange look. Life’s like that in so many ways, and yet, it’s also quite ordinary: “I have nothing to say today/ The usual life happened.” Whether you live in the paradise land of the Pacific Northwest, or anywhere else for that matter, there are so many things that happen, just because. Life may appear ordinary, but in reality, life is truly extraordinary. The sights, the smells, the people, the animals – this and so much more make life worth living.

CE Rivers’ anthology Northwest Poems explores the many nuances of life on the Pacific Northwest coast. This collection is presented in free verse, with some narrative and a few rhyming poems. The book is organized into six chapters, addressing poignant themes from the Pacific Northwest: animals, community, expression of beauty and joy, death (but with cheery memories of those who have died), conflict and war, and, finally, oppression. The scope is broad but reflects a wider perspective on life anywhere. The poems are both entertaining and thought-provoking, challenging the reader to think more deeply about the world in which they live. The collection ends with a simple, yet intense poem: Her Place Upon Earth. “She knew hunger/ She knew the art of waiting/ She owned her place/ She sees the world pass by.” Life in a nutshell – well said.

Doreen Chombu

Northwest Poems is a collection of narrative poems by CE Rivers. The book contains thought-provoking, funny, and profound works. It has hilarious stories about talking animals, protecting the earth's resources, and weird ant parties. The author talks about different kinds of love, such as self-love, lost and passionate love, and the difference between real and fake love. The collection covers the writing process and the emotional power of poems. It also has a consistent theme of Seattle: the towers, scenery, and jazz music. The author discusses societal problems like injustice, corruption, racial inequality, and homelessness. The last poems are about death and grief, the inhumanity and madness of war, and the danger of oppression in our workplaces and neighborhoods.

I enjoyed reading Northwest Poems because it has relatable poems that discuss what happens in our daily lives. The collection is well-written and organized, with poems grouped into six categories and following a consistent format. The short stories have shocking and unique plot twists, such as a talking trout stopping a man from fishing, comparing pens to women, or a Vietnam vet who reunites with a friend at a cemetery. Some poems are connected, like the ones about two wandering homeless people who die on the streets. CE Rivers uses simple words that are easy to understand, which makes the meanings clear. The book will take you on a roller coaster of emotions and make you reflect on what is happening around you. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves reading heart-stirring poems that cover issues affecting society.