Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Review: After the Storm

After the Storm
By: Anthony F. Rando
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Publication Date: January 2012
ISBN: 978-1-61346-641-4
Reviewed by: Eloise Michael
Review Date: February 2012

After the Storm is a visually appealing book with glossy pages and color photos throughout. The poems are divided into categories—poems about love, nature, healing, remorse, emptiness. The collection as a whole is tied together by threads of metaphor, imagery, nature, and love. The latter two, though they have sections of their own, are at the heart of all the poems in this collection. Author Anthony Rando experiments with sonnets and acrostic poems, but most of his work is free verse. The poems are short, each a snapshot of a moment, an image, or an emotion.

The sense of place Rando creates in each piece is the most striking element of his work. After reading the collection, I was left with images of the sea, of storms, and of evening skies. The glossy, full-page nature photographs, which accompany the poems, add to the overall feeling that one is in a beautiful place.
Any reader will come away with an appreciation for the depth of Rando's devotion to the woman in his life. She is present throughout, even in poems that are not specifically written about her. Though love poems have a section unto themselves, they spill into the other chapters, as well, where nature is a metaphor for love, or love leads to the emotions which Rando uses to title the sections. For example, the collection of poems on healing contains the piece (pg. 63):

She Mends Me

Her smile was like watching
The sun rising on my soul

Her laughter could heal
The empty river of my beating heart

Her touch could erase the memories
Of the past that shattered my soul

Her whispers soft like the wind
On a cool summer morning

Her eyes could tell a story
Of endless love

With each passing glance
Her love
Is the beauty of her soul

Her heart helped me to love again
She mends me

There are many poems, however, in which Rando speaks directly to or about his beloved. The collection opens with the lines, “I am falling into the deepest ocean, Immersed in the love we share, Drowning for you with each breath I take.” (“The Shoreline,” pg. 13)

Rando's work is filled with raw emotion. The poems are honest and personal. The passion in his words seems true to the moment he felt it first, his love all-consuming, eclipsing other emotions. After the Storm will be particularly appealing to readers who are overflowing with this depth of love themselves, or perhaps to readers who dream that someone will write similar verses about them.

Quill says: Images of beauty combine with passionate emotions in poems about love and loss.

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