“Proof I Was Here” by William Winslow

Proof I Was Here

William Winslow
Outskirts Press (2021)
ISBN: 978-1977240965
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (10/2022)

“Proof I Was Here” is an attractive poetic mosaic by William Winslow, with plenty of anecdotes and life experiences. Through the author’s knack for poetry, William takes us through his life in the forties and fifties, his warm relationship with pets, his experiences in the Vietnam War along with his current lifestyle in Charleston and North Carolina.

Some entries such as “After the Rain” and “Apparitions” are short while others like “Vietnam June 68-69” and “Asheville Postcard Company” are long. While others appear to be haikus, others are pensive soliloquies such as ” Death of a Classmate”, and still others are narrative entries like “Baggins’ Epiphany and “Birmingham 1944”. Elsewhere, pet-human relationships are amplified with thoughtful illustrations enhancing their plausibility and realness.

The anthology meditates on nature, life, death, loss, relationships, and memory, using language that is striking and dazzling as well. The poems encompass imagery borrowed from beaches, waterways, streets, cities, and birds in flight and at rest. For example, in the poem ” Autumn”, words such as “The turning leaves have run their course from melon green to mottled brown, and from what source will prophet wins come shake their brittle sadness down?” provide remarkable vividness and distinctness.

Further, some poems employ predictable rhyme patterns, but most are written in musical free verse form, making use of internal cadence, slant verse, and head rhymes in lines that beg to be read aloud. Others are quietly powerful and imminently readable providing readers with recognition of our shared humanity. Each word counts in this collection, including their titles that draw attention and offer subtle hints of the poems herein. The clever line breaks along with the use of alliteration and resonance bring about precise linguistic turns that edify, broaden, and enlighten.

“Proof I Was Here” by William Winslow makes for an unarguably sharp five-star read. The methodology used here is as graceful as it is rigorously intelligent. No pleasures are more stirring than poetry and nature, and the two often unite. The poet here has managed to merge the two worlds seamlessly culminating in a satisfying collection. His poetry accomplishes a unique elegance, delicately fastened to a tiffany string, leaving the reader to feel the distance of the various periods. Clearly, a visual poet is at work here.

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