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Reviewed by Karen Walpole for Readers' Favorite
In Pam R. Johnson Davis’s book of poetry, Seasons (I’ll Be Seeing You), her poems follow seven years in her life in which she experiences heartbreak, healing, and redemption. Following a broken relationship, she experiences grief and depression which are beautifully represented in poems like “Descent” and “Worthless”. As she started to recover, Davis wrote poetry that expresses a mixture of painful learning and glimmers of hope. In the poem Oblivion, she writes about her efforts to recover: “I climb up and up, and down I go, adding to my wounds”. The last section of the book presents powerful and timely poems about being African American. The message that you cannot know or understand unless you are actually black in America is clear and compelling. The last poem of the book, “That Girl”, changes “That girl” at the beginning to “This girl” at the end, representing the transformation from who she was to who she has become.
The poems in Seasons (I’ll Be Seeing You) by Pam R. Johnson Davis capture the very raw pain of loss, the transition to healing, and the uplifting joy that comes from surviving a difficult human experience and finding love again. The poems bravely and openly share pain and healing that is simultaneously extremely personal and universal. I found the repetition of words or phrases particularly powerful like the word “still” in “Are You There” and “mess made” in “The Mess I Made”. Some of the repetition seemed to symbolize the repeated efforts to come back and recover. I was moved by the poems in the last section of the book. In today’s America, the poems about being black could not be more timely. Beautifully written, Davis’s words remind us of how impossible it is to understand someone else’s experience and of how far we still need to go.