Poetry - General
94 Pages
Reviewed on 02/26/2023
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Author Biography

David Rice attended Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked as a psychologist for fifty years. He has been writing tanka for thirty years, was the editor of the Tanka Society of America’s triannual journal from 2012-2019, and has written six other books of poetry—four with other poets/artists—as well as a book about the attractions of birding.
Sequelae is a tanka prose collection that considers the way we are responding to the climate crisis. The industrial revolutionaries inadvertently over-heated the earth while improving the lives of its human inhabitants, improvements most of us are loathe to lose. To significantly reduce our social and individual carbon footprints, isn't a change in our psychological and spiritual perspective necessary? All proceeds will benefit the Climate Emergency Fund.

I sacrifice some
— you do, too—
not enough
for our great-grandchildren
to forgive us

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

David Rice delivers a climate-centric anthology of original pieces of poetry in his book, Sequelae. The compilation combines both prose and poetry verses which, for clarity, are not the same thing, and breathes life into the messaging. The book states that the formatting is inspired by tanka, the ancient art of Japanese syllabic poetry, but forgoes the hallmark thirty-one syllable structure of 5/7/5/7/7. The poems are instead a blend of the punchy characteristic five-line construction of tanka and the immunity of syllabic structure found in free-form poetry. Between poems, Rice provides narrative prose that expands the theme and provides more clarity than can be given in five lines. There is also visual art interspersed that has been created by Tex Buss.

As a woman who comes from an Asian family, my affinity for Asian poetry forms is probably greater than that of most more casual readers of poetry. I'm deeply familiar with tanka and the style it gave birth to that is more widely recognized; the haiku. Naturally, I picked up Sequelae by David Rice as soon as I saw it. It's not entirely what I was expecting or accustomed to but it is still incredibly good. The verses are beautifully and powerfully constructed, the narrative prose genuinely solidifies the message, and the artwork by Tex Buss pulls it all together wonderfully. My favorite poem in the book is Pre-TSD, which describes the devastation of climate-created fires that will inevitably come. I was born and raised in California and have witnessed firsthand the destruction of giant Redwoods that were born before the first European settlers landed in the Americas, and the trees that line the drive to Lake Tahoe being nothing more than charred skeletons of what they once were. Rice's words touched me in a profoundly painful way but being moved by poetry is the entire point of crafting it. Very highly recommended.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Written in tanka prose, Sequelae is filled with striking poetry by David Rice which conveys the condition of the earth and the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. There are avian subjects in much of the verse, and illustrations of birds in each section, where Rice connects them to the past, the present, and future state of the environment. Rice also shares his explanations and reflections on the changing planet after each poem. Detailing the need for action to save the human population from the effects of an altered climate, Rice has chosen to donate the proceeds of his poetry to the Climate Emergency Fund.

As the title suggests, the consequences of the harmful elements humans are subjecting the earth to now are the results of years of pollution and inattention to climate change. David Rice points out that the world suffers from overproduction and waste, and most of the population is negligent of the planet’s needs, so environmental distress follows. He writes in tanka prose, but he also places his thoughts and observations between the poems, which provides more depth and understanding of recent environmental climate change. Rice creates a strong visual scene and evokes an emotional reaction in each piece. Sequelae takes you on an eye-opening, informative, and interesting journey, using science-based facts, personal musings, wisdom, and literature to present the current condition of our planet and possible future outcomes. Rice’s work encourages a call to action that the human race shouldn’t ignore.

Pikasho Deka

Whether you like it or not, climate change is upon us. And unless we drastically reduce greenhouse emissions and our carbon footprint, the day isn't far away when most of the planet will be uninhabitable due to the rise in global temperatures. David Rice highlights this increasingly relevant issue through a collection of beautifully crafted Tanka poems in Sequelae. Advancements in science and technology have made our lives progressively more luxurious but at one point you have to ask, when is it enough? Will we be able to let go of our unnecessary desires and do our part in fighting climate change? Change is needed in our mindsets and perspectives, both individually and as a society, if we are to fight this menace. Another important question is will it be enough? Only time will tell.

In recent years, artists, scientists, environmental activists, and experts from diverse fields have continually shed light on the greatest threat humanity has faced in the modern era; climate change. With his mesmerizing verses, David Rice covers every aspect of climate change and the steps people can take to make sure they leave this planet a better place to live for their children. There are countless activists doing their part in fighting climate change, just like Greta Thunberg, but unless politicians and large-scale corporations use their powers to combat this threat, the planet will continue to warm, the ice caps will melt, the sea levels will keep rising, and drought will cover vast areas of land. All proceeds from Sequelae will go to the Climate Emergency Fund. Highly recommended.