Strands of Struggle
Dumpster Fire Press (2021)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (10/2021)
For me, poetry has always been a large part of the writing world. In addition, it will always remain the most difficult. I say this because the ones who can master this skill have to do so by putting a story, a ton of emotions, and a moral all together in a very short amount of time. They are not utilizing three hundred pages where they can draw the reader in and keep them there with suspenseful twists and turns; or four hundred pages to tell the most intricate and unforgettable romance. No, they need to draw someone in immediately – with the first line – in order to inspire a person’s interest. And when it comes to this woman, Brenda Christie, I can honestly say she has ‘mastered’ this art form with her incredible collection, “Strands of Struggle.”
Containing fifty-six poems, reflecting on everything from the emotional ups-and-downs of love to the pain of bullying to the fear we all felt as 2020 turned into a torrential downpour of pandemic panic, the author inspires readers with her magical words and absolute honesty throughout. She takes us on a journey to learn more about the victims out there, as well as the activism these crimes spawned across the nation. We see through her eyes and her heart what all of these subjects are about: life. And even those who may not agree with her point of view offered up in each tale, it will still open their eyes.
On a personal note, I throw out a huge thanks to the author for touching upon the admiration she has for mentors and friends, most especially when she writes about her mother in “Absent Prayers.” As a person who had the ‘best of the best’ when it came to a mother-daughter relationship, and had to go through watching her decline this past year as she fought dementia with all her might, this particular poem touched me, hurt me, made me cry, and made me appreciate Mom even more.
It is said that a good poem is enjoyed, but a great poem impacts you on a personal level. And each one of these fifty-six poems does that. It is also highly educational just because she uses all types of arrangements to construct her poetry. Whether first-person or third, whether simple themes or hard-core, each and every one flows with ease. In the end, if you have not given poetry a chance as of yet, or you are a huge fan of this genre and will read nothing else, this is a book that must be savored, enjoyed, and studied. There is a lot to learn in these stories, and Brenda Christie is a great teacher!