- Skylar Hamilton Burris
Seeded Puffs by Cherise Wyneken Dry Bones Press, Inc., © 2000
Seeded Puffs contains approximately 100 poems, an impressive number for any verse collection. Wyneken makes masterful use of alliteration, anaphora, and other rhetorical devices. The imagery is well-formed and often original, but the author relies on this particular poetic device rather heavily. After much use, imagery—no matter how well-drawn—eventually ceases to have an impact.
As a reader, I look for poems that move me, that stun me into contemplation. I find several in this series. “I Thirst” is a powerful reflection on Christ’s dying words. “Like a Thief in the Night?” inspires the reader to consider whether “the trumpet’s final blast” might leave him “drowning in the wake of [his] own plans.” Other poems that gave me real cause to pause include “Cutting Facts,” “Keeper of the Keys,” “The Shining,” and “Waters of Life.”
Many of Wyneken’s poems break out from the dull, unvarying flow of much modern free verse into fine rhythmic cadences. Two examples are “Voices Red as Wine” and “In the Eye of the Storm.” There are also lines that leap off the page and cry for consideration: “The Father’s rules of right and wrong / tied in hopeless knot.”
There is a bit of liberal moralizing to be waded through here and there, but I think people of all political persuasion will find much to admire in this volume. The book is finely printed, but a Table of Contents would have been helpful.