This poetry collection is divided in three sections:
- Intrigue: the way we perceive the world around us, how we take beauty in, how we get to know everything around us
- Whimsy: sketches of life, things that make up our life and become particularly significant to our role such as playing baseball, or putting ointment on foot fungi.
- Reflection: a step back analyzing ideas and concepts
As is indicated by the cover of this collection the symbol of the butterfly is a running thread through all three sections. The author considers the butterfly when discussing beauty, flight, and transformation.
Aside from the aforementioned three-part division, most poems in this collection are so diverse one cannot categorize them as they are stand-alones. For instance, in the first section there is a poem called “Shattered” which is a rhyming poem juxtaposing the fairy tale of Snow White with the contemporary ways in which we attempt to alter the perception of our beauty either through cosmetic surgery or digitally manipulated Facebook pictures. While it still looks at another kind of transformation similar to that of a butterfly, the writing style, rhythm, and composition of this poem makes it somewhat unique and apart from others in its section.
In the poems where Anderson captures moments from life I was reminded of Sylvia Plath’s ‘moment’ poems like “Cut” or “Balloons” and yet his play on words is so fun that I couldn’t help but imagine that I was being serenaded by the Caterpillar from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. For example he plays with the word IT in the poem “IT” as ‘it’ being an ominous presence, a something, or literally the digital IT department. There are other moments where he writes ‘fizzycists’ instead of physicists, or when he writes in the poem “i.”:
“they say it’s as easy as a π in the sky”
Anderson combines the mundane daily life snippets with the larger activity all around all-present in nature and the larger cosmos.
My favourite poems are “i,” “Shattered,” and the very first one “First Glance.” Here is “First Glance” in its entirety (spelling of words appear as such in the collection, they are not typos):
“Inananosecond / The Photons reflect / From your face and zip / Through the lens of my eye – / Your image summersaults on my retina / Where all comes into brilliant sharp focus / Then the rhodopsin in the colorful cones / And sensitive rods transforms to create / The impulse which crosses / Via the optic chiasm / To the visual cortex / Where all is parsed –/ And though I have / Never seen you / In the past / Somehow / I know / You are / Beautiful ”
(“First Glance,” Anderson)
I enjoyed the collection and would recommend it to anyone who loves poetry. It is appropriate for younger children as well if you would like to use this collection as a bonding moment, or a poetry study in a classroom.
The poetry collection is also accompanied by several illustrations created by Maria Rodriguez.
J.B. Anderson is a Detroit poet with a B.A. in English Literature who has been practicing orthopedic medicine for 30 years. He published a children’s book called Hockey Cat in 2010 under a pseudonym.