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Reviewed by Tania Staley for Readers' Favorite
Every once in a while, a book of poetry comes into my possession that forces me to share it with others, whether they consider themselves poetry readers or not. Sherry Rentschler’s book, Paper Bones, is one of these books. As I read her poems, I wanted to share them, if only to hear them said aloud. In her introduction to the collection, Rentschler states, “I don’t know if I will ever call myself a true poet,” but I will do it for her. She is a poet in the truest sense of the word. Someone who sees the world in a new light and shares their insights with the melody of their words.
Her poems have the ability to both enchant and haunt the reader. Rentschler’s poems take on often clichéd poetic topics, such as love, loss, and depression, and explore them in new and profound ways, sharing her perceptions of these experiences with honesty and creativity. For example, in her poem “Love’s Last Stand,” one of my personal favorites in the collection, she equates the act of falling in love with a game of poker, with the love interest playing a gambler who has never been beaten and the potential suitor playing the adversary simply trying to win one hand. Like many of the poems in her collection, this one is clever and whimsical, yet at the same time shines a glaring light upon the serious issues of the topic. In this poem’s case, the games we play in love. Paper Bones is an excellent poetry collection that I will recommend to all the poetry readers in my life. I highly recommend it for both scholars of poetry and those just beginning to explore the art form. I truly hope that this is not the last I will read from this outstanding poet.