Some works- be it visual, musical or, in this case, written- are immediately apparent as a labour of love and appreciation for the craft they’re derivative of. There is a metaphysical manifestation in their creation, love of a craft for the craft itself. You can find examples of this phenomenon in any creative industry. The most immediate example off the top of my head is Stephen King, who probably could have retired decades ago and deprived us of some great works. He writes because he loves to. Donald Glover doesn’t have to be Childish Gambino in his spare time, especially with his level of success. He does it for passion.
You can see these energies in Lee’s Vine: Book of Poetry. There is excitement hiding in the way she turns syllables and matches sounds, almost effortlessly at times. There is little social justice warriorism here, and when her feminist side does come out, like in the four excellent lines that make up Warning, virtue signaling this is not, but a deftly applied example of feminine strength.
“They should have warned you
that little princesses grow up
to be red rocks and raging seas
fire dragons and warrior queens”
Warning by Melody Lee
Instead, Lee tends to ride the line between the universal human experience (Education, November) and the investment in her art (Indelible, Death Lives in the Sepulcher of My Soul) with grace. References to her inspirations abound, Lee is a product of those who came before her, an amalgam of styles she has made her own.
The book is cleverly divided into semi-thematic chapters, each named for a type of vine (Clematis, Honeysuckle, Wisteria). At first, I was perplexed by the lack of an index, until I finished the book and found a helpful appendix to return to previous pieces.
“Wayward November winds
Caress my bare skin
Like dead flowers and silky petals of chrysanthemums”
November by Melody Lee
Overall, Vine: Book of Poetry is an enjoyable read. As a father to a six-year-old girl, I am often on the lookout for books I can pass down to her alongside my own, and I am happy to say Melody Lee’s little book squarely fits into that category. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Review by Nicholas Gagnier, FVR Publishing
Vine: Book of Poetry is available now at Amazon.com and through other major retailers.