“Black Forest Dreams” by Joseph Kuhn Carey

Black Forest Dreams: A Journey through Germany

Joseph Kuhn Carey
Kelsay Books (2021)
ISBN 978-1952326752
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (12/ 2021)

One place I have always wanted to visit is the Black Forest, so I was happy to come across “Black Forest Dreams: A Journey through Germany” by Joseph Kuhn Carey. The first poem in the book bears the title of the book and it grabbed me by the hand and took me far away from where I sat to experience the place I longed to visit for many years, the author’s words being words my magic carpet.

Soon I realized that the author had a gift as I experienced his travels through Germany instead of just reading about it. From places, to characters, to moments, the reader discovers Germany through the author’s firsthand, personal, and intimate recollection of what he saw and experienced during his journey. From the Black Forest to the Streets of Berlin, to Granma Kuhn’s Plum cake, readers will get to know Germany inside out through the author’s heart.

Kuhn Carey’s voice is simple and personal. Through his simplicity, he can paint with his words an intimate portrait of his roots during his journey. This heartwarming voice is what captivated me from the beginning. He chose free verse as the format to share his experience, which I found appropriate, although the poet in me saw different opportunities for more rhyme to make it more musical. This didn’t take away from the beauty of his writing, on the contrary it made it more personal. His forte, I believe, is creating a picture with his words which people will see from his heart directly.

Below is a short sample of one of my favorites:

“The Streets of Berlin
Wandering the streets of Berlin
looking at each cement square connecting
the other cement squares covering
the earth beneath, forming a
grinning gray carpet to walk on,
the little green and red men symbols in the traffic
lights the only things
controlling my pace on this hot afternoon
with some euros in my pockets
and some strudel on my mind.”

“Black Forest Dreams: A Journey through Germany” by Joseph Kuhn Carey is an intimate travel experience through poetry; one that will linger in my mind for a while.


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