Book Reviews

Book Review: Life in 25 Words or Less by Jack Cantwell


This book was reviewed for Online Book Club


*Click here to visit the OnlineBookClub page for this book.


In Life Expressed, Jack Cantwell has created a series of poems designed to make the reader pause and think. The style is vaguely reminiscent of more structured diamante poems to me, with most of the poems being in pairs that are connected together by a set of words in the middle. Sometimes the poems were unrelated, but often each was connected to the other. I found the poems to be very intriguing, and enjoyed the mental pictures they inscribed upon the canvas of my mind’s eye.


I particularly enjoyed the Japanese waitress/sparrows poem. I’ve had the greeting experience more than once when walking into a Japanese sushi place. The second half was just beautiful. It reminded me of a found natural treasure, recalling to mind one of my own- the slightly surreal experience of seeing a saltine walking it’s crooked way down a sidewalk. Careful examination revealed ants! Walking a whole cracker along!


I had to laugh at the wasabi poem. We had a family member do the same thing before we could warn. Why they thought it was guacamole is something I have yet to figure out. The pelican/seagull poem is another I can relate to, living along the coast of Northern California as I do. Both are familiar sights. I love discovering flights of pelicans. They can be rather graceful airborne.


Pet poems were another favourite, though the one about the cockapoo’s passing had me teared up. Today, Oct 8, is the second anniversary of the passing of my beloved kit-kat, Drizzit. At the age of 13, he passed away from a potassium imbalance. I still miss him so, as I do my grandmother, which another poem reminded me of.


Last, but hardly least, among those that stood out were the ‘where were you’ poems. Some of the poet’s included Kennedy’s assassination, and the Boston marathon bombing.. For me, it would be Challenger’s destruction, Hurricane Hugo, Mt St Helens, the World Trade Centre.


Poetry is for capturing the essences of things, distilling them in shimmering memory jewels. Cantwell has done a marvelous job at doing just that. I immensely enjoyed reading his poetic offerings. I also appreciated the explainer to some of them in the back of the book.

?????Highly recommended for those who love poetry.

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