“How to Feed a Horse” by Janice Dewey

How to Feed a Horse

Janice Dewey 
Crooked Hearts Press (2021)
ISBN: 9781597098663
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (09/2021)

This has been one of those “odd” times for me when it comes to books. There have been, realistically, years-long stretches in life where I have gone without reading one poetry book I remotely enjoy. This summer of 2021, however, will go down as being one of the absolute most prolific times for doing just that. “How to Feed a Horse” is now the fourth book of poetry that caused me to absolutely love the imagination of the author. Not only does Janice Dewey have a strong voice that comes through loud and clear, she also has a wry attitude and offers up lines that can cause a smile to form on your face in less than a second. But it doesn’t end there. In fact, this poet’s tune was sung extremely well when it came to the ‘showing’ of animals, as well as describing the relationships that occur between humans and nature – the bonds that are formed and how we can understand each other better with just her words or a simple action.

Separated into three parts, the author begins with her first set compiled as “Ranch Poems.” These beautiful poems focus on the creek environment and the contemplations that exist there. They dive directly into the awareness that one and all of us could experience for the world around us if we would only take a moment to sit somewhere and soak it all in. Moving into the second part of her compilation, Janice Dewey uses her wit to look at the silly that exists in our current world and places them under a section aptly named, “Numerology.” These take that extra look at the contrasting, usually ridiculous and differing views that come from areas like politics, human relationships, and history. And the work found in the final section, “Her(e)”, is absolutely unforgettable. These are conversations held with a variety of women – some who are simply part of the imagination, some from the annals of history, and some on a much more intimate level.

All in all, this poet’s views are right there in front of you, and they are not harsh views – they are simply ones that need to be seen by humans, sometimes in order to move forward in life and save things we’ve been destroying. Issues from climate change to the planet slowly dying; to finding the time to stop in our tracks in order to honor and witness the stunning landscape that our life is set against, Janice Dewey leaves no stone unturned.

The legacy we leave behind is important; it is also something forgotten about by many. But knowing that voices like these are out there trying to right any ‘sinking ship’ makes me feel much better. Best advice I have is to get this, read it, enjoy it…then keep reading it again. You won’t be disappointed.  

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