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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Poems from the Bottom of the Rock by J.R. Kinney is a powerfully moving collection of poems about hitting rock bottom but finding hope to come out from beneath it. It took almost two years for this volume of poetry to be written and it explores a myriad of experiences and emotions, from the lowest lows to the highest highs. We've all made mistakes and taken wrong turns, and this is the thrust of the poems, told in an emotionally engaging style that will connect with readers. In a way, it feels as if you're reading tiny slices of life, or personal essays, or someone's journal. But these aren't merely random thoughts captured on paper. Rather, they're well-thought-out phrases that are sometimes concrete, sometimes abstract, but always insightful and inspiring - some truly beautiful - about broken people, forgiveness, and second chances.
Kinney has written a volume of poetry that can actually help others through dark times, so the meaning of these poems is almost self-help in nature but also aesthetically pleasing and constructed with purpose. This poet's voice is distinct, and you will know from the first poem that it's a gifted voice. The coverage of life and its eclectic details seems limitless, evident in titles like "Water," "Lament of a Dead Rock Star," and "Freedom From Freedom," just to name a few. You can feel great rhythm and weight in some of the poems and lightness, simplicity, and playfulness in others. Being a writer of poetry myself, I especially appreciate the process and motivations for writing poetry. If you want a volume of poetry that covers a wide range of subjects and styles that will make you feel and think at the same time, then please treat yourself to Poems from the Bottom of the Rock by J.R. Kinney.