Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing the second book in Frank Prem’s love trilogy – A Kiss for the Worthy. Frank has taken a piece of writing from Walt Whitman – Leaves of Grass, and transformed it into a newfound form of poetry by rewriting Whitman’s lines, expanding and incorporating into his own new poetry.
Houses and rooms are full of perfumes,
the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also,
but I shall not let it.. . .
from Leaves of Grass
Drawing on the phrasing of Walt Whitman’s great late 19th century poem Leaves of Grass (above) Frank Prem has produced a collection of expansive and outward looking love poetry written, as always, in the unique style that allows every reader to relate.
Prem’s interpretations breathe new life into contemporary exploration of themes of love in poetry, and utilise Whitman’s original phrases to inspire a contemplation of the self in the context of landscape and the wider world:
and as they open
they are filled
with sweet perfumes
from a house filled (with the sensual)
a kiss for the worthy is the second of three collections that together comprise A Love Poetry Trilogy, with each revisiting outstanding work by stellar poets of the past to produce vibrant new collections. The first collection, walk away silver heart, draws on Amy Lowell’s deeply personal Madonna of the Evening Flowers, while the third, rescue and redemption, derives from T.S Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
This is a new kind of poetry that tells stories, draws pictures and elicits emotional responses from readers. Just as the best poetry should.
My 5 Star Review:
This is the second book in Prem’s Love Trilogy. Prem has taken from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and once again, transforms his own version of thoughts and feelings putting his own creative spin on Whitman’s poetry by taking in and evoking the simple joys of life, love and nature.
Three of these poems stood out to me: – Clean (This soil, my air), transformed from ‘From this soil, this air’, Prem goes deeper – ‘A bootprint in the sand, breathing my own air – a cleansing’. And he takes the poignant line from ‘Born Here (an immigrant son)’, transformed into – ‘Born here of parents born here from parents of the same, and their parents the same …’, the author shares his own lineage on this controversial and au current topic. He continues – “Sing me a song of an immigrant, on the road – sing me the song of a traveller, I will join you in the chorus, for I carry, that same dusty weight.”.’No to Espresso’ gives us a stunning conversion into the realms of addiction to the coveted java – which Prem expands on in stanza, elaborating on how caffeine affects.
Prem leaves us much to both savor and contemplate with his altered perspective on Whitman’s work. A mixture of emotion and perspective, cleverly re-wrapped into engaging bite-sized stories with robust meaning.