Without Rhyme

A Poet's Story

Poetry - General
140 Pages
Reviewed on 06/27/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Without Rhyme: A Poet's Story by Bles Chavez-Bernstein is a collection of free-flowing verses, poems that capture some of the important moments in the author’s life. Inspirational in nature and intimate, it is brimming with strong imagery, capturing the author’s life as a young girl, the elements of a rural setting, moving to another land, embracing new cultures, and more. In these poems, readers are treated to both melancholy and the nostalgia of someone looking introspectively into her life, the thrill of love, the raw sentiments of joy, dealing with tragedy, the power of hope, and a lot more.

This collection of 100 poems captures the seasons of the poet’s life with brilliance, and each is short in length, condensed, and poignant. The book opens with War Within that looks at the world through the eyes of a three-year-old girl and then to Oasis for a Child, with images of the traditional animal used for farming in the Philippines, the carabao, trudging through the muddy waters, fettered piglets, fowls picking endlessly on fertile grounds, brooks murmuring secrets. The author introduces readers to human encounters, her perception of the world as a child, the warmth of friendship, and more. The diction is rich and the verses are rhythmic, always with insights sprinkled here and there and expressions that are symbolic in nature. The tone is personal and the voice lively, and it allows the emotions of the personae to come across powerfully through the different situations and encounters. Whether she writes about the silent stranger in her house, the old woman who calls her Nisnak, the poetic experience of the writer, or whether exploring themes of trauma, there is beauty in the lines and a song that strikes powerful chords in readers. Without Rhyme: A Poet's Story is well-illustrated poetry that will resonate with fans and inspire them to remember their own unique journeys.

Samantha Coville

Bles Chavez Bernstein opens her heart to the reader in Without Rhyme by sharing her own personal life story and the adventures it held. It starts with a young, innocent girl finding out who she is through love and heartbreak, and follows that girl through her life, moving to a foreign land and claiming it as home. It's the story of life, death, wisdom, stupidity, love, loss, joy, sorrow, being lost, and being found. And it's all told through poetry.

While I must commend the author for opening the emotional door for us and allowing us to see her life with all of its flaws, her story is not overly groundbreaking. I've heard of others who have lived a life similar to her own. However, hers is written through poetry that the others could never dream of matching. There's a beautiful rhythm here that flows like the emotions she works so hard to detail and convey. At points, it is raw and so genuine that you almost feel them welling up in yourself as well. I don't think readers should come here looking for a unique story, but instead for a healing spiritual experience. Without Rhyme is a perfect rainy day read to curl up with and meet someone who feels what you feel. I recommend reading out loud to fully grasp the flow of this poetry that is so well done. Bravo!

Jacob R LaMar

Without Rhyme: A Poet's Story is a collection of verses that spans 140 pages. Written by Bles Chavez Bernstein, Without Rhyme is a compelling account of the author's life as a young girl. It soundly captures emotions on both sides of the spectrum such as beauty, love, joy, and triumph, as well as tragedy, grief, and isolation. Through her journey, we get to see her life growing up in a small country town and her unexpected adventure in a foreign country, which then became her home. The book is written in free verse, with no set rhythm or rhyme, but don’t let the title fool you, Without Rhyme actually utilizes well-placed rhymes often. The poet does a nice job of concealing her rhymes within the lines and ensuring they don’t feel forced at any time.

This book's use of metaphor is beautiful and persuasive to the mind. I found no difficulty in picturing each story as it was being described and enjoyed being taken along for the ride, so to speak. My favorite piece was Butterflies on page 119. Much like its peers, this poem is formidable in its use of metaphorical language and internal rhymes, but I also enjoyed the vibrant view it paints in the reader’s psyche. Ultimately, Without Rhyme: A Poet's story is a book I would heartily recommend to any poetry lover. If you like traditional poetry with a more consistent meter and rhyme, this book will pique your interest. If you are a fan of the more contemporary types of free verse, this one will fit the bill. It is also worth noting that the occasional illustration on display only adds to the book's aesthetic. Married together perfectly, this makes a well-formed book.

Carolina Restrepo

This collection of poems, Without Rhyme by Bles Chavez Bernstein, is as raw and personal as our minds processing our deepest feelings. The author's deep analysis and understanding of sorrow and loss are breathtaking. Who knew that such sad feelings could, in turn, become a hopeful future. Many poems are an ode to birth, one of the most incredible and miraculous things humans can do. It can bring much happiness yet much sorrow; her words elucidate both in the most beautiful way. Bles’ words are as if they were taken from my mouth and undoubtedly from other people's mouths. Her writing style is a fresh encounter with poetry; many can have difficulty reading and understanding poetry, but with poems like hers, even the most uninterested person will learn something from them.

Without Rhyme has found me in one of my off days and, curiously enough, because of this, I have felt her poems more deeply. My most personal insecurities and fears have been portrayed within these poems and a part of my soul has somehow rested, even if it was just for a minute. "If only time can measure love…" Her words will resonate with me for a long time; a single sentence has been enough in helping me analyze and, in some sense, change the way I saw things in the past. Apart from being a beautiful collection of poems, it is a collection of life lessons. Bles has given voice to many people's feelings; nothing is better than knowing you are not alone when it comes to your frustrations, feelings, and even fears. A great bedside companion.