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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.