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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Sparks and Disperses by Cathleen Cohen is a poetic breath of fresh air to revisit again and again. If you are a visual artist or know someone who is, these poems may especially appeal to you, as they are created from this viewpoint. It may be interesting to note that they are also grounded in the Kabbalistic myth of "shattering of vessels." This poet brings you a soft touch with phrasing and complex ideas that are hard to put into words for most people but seem to come easy for her, which allows us to enjoy the imagery and themes. The poems are about current life and challenges, like brokenness, recovery, poverty, and COVID-19. Still, they are dealt with in an aesthetic way, which allows you to take a different look at the issues - a more personal and emotional look. You will also find poems on ecology, nature, and so many facets of life. Although these poems were written with artists in mind, they are for anyone to admire.
It's no secret that art has been therapeutic for artists and audiences alike throughout history. It has a way of helping us cope with what is going on around us, both positive and negative. Cohen is thus a healer of sorts with her poetry, as this is an art form too. Imagine a large abstract painting with splashes of color and embedded texture that represent the splashes and textures of our lives. This is what this book of poetry is like. Some of the poems are gritty, some are smooth, while others are left to readers to enjoy and interpret - but all have something valuable to say. In the end, this work as a whole leaves you with a feeling of hope and togetherness. One of my favorites is "My Grandchild and I Dream on the Couch." If you like relevant poetry about issues of the day, you will love the visceral and beautiful Sparks and Disperses by Cathleen Cohen.