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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
The Girl with The Blue Umbrella is Heather Awad’s debut collection of observational and thoughtful poems. A very readable collection that covers a whole variety of themes around everyday life, and what it is to live and be human. Relationships, the passing of time, memories, longings and change, as well as a range of human emotions are depicted in the verses, which range in length from a few lines to a page or two.
Heather Awad has a lovely way of conveying what she has noticed, experienced and felt in a simplistic and understandable, but at the same time profound and thoroughly observant manner. This makes The Girl with The Blue Umbrella a great introduction to poetry for those new to it, or for those preferring less cluttered language.
I liked the variety of themes. Whether a poem about everyday life, work or relationships, change, or emotions around loss, regret or holding on to the moment, each is written with clarity – sharing insights and what is felt with the reader in words. There is wonderful use of imagery, metaphorical phrasing and wordplay. My favorites were those that captured perfectly times in life when an awareness of the moment or situation suddenly heightens. For example: “Fragrant lilacs once accented the house, an aroma she swears still hangs in the air.” (Mom’s Flowers) or:
“But as the day fell away
and sunlight turned
down its covers
we would dream on our backs
up at the evening sky
wishing another day of
summer wasn’t far away.” (Four Leaf Clover)
The “Blue Umbrella” referenced in the book’s title has its own poem. “Burdened” speaks of letting go of someone loved in order to set them (and yourself, weary from holding on) free. This is one of several that show the poet’s understanding and empathetic insight into human emotions and behaviours that affect all relationships.
One of my favorites of all is “Blue Sky” which is about hope within, regardless of what may have occurred in life. And “Blues and Gold” – a perceptive observation which describes the feeling of merging and sense of fulfillment in a close relationship:
“Your colors bleed onto mine
like paint blends on a pallet.
…Two flickering flames
burning up the night
fused blue and gold torches
reaching their greatest heights…”
A beautifully written, life-reflective, thought-provoking, thoroughly readable debut collection that will entertain and inspire any poetry lover. Recommended.