Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why I Choose Poetry as a Way of Expression

My blog for this week on my book, Lanterns of the Soul, concerns why I choose poetry as a means of expressing myself. There are a number of reasons why I do. One major one is that I like to write things down. I am the person who makes lists after lists. It hasn’t started until I make my list on something, and it doesn’t end until I stroke it off. I am also much more comfortable with writing than with verbal conversations. If you get tongue tied on paper, you only have to erase it. Once something is said, it’s forever.

Secondly, I am a very private person, which I think goes along with the preference for putting something “down” rather than putting it “out there”. This is reflected in my poem, “Good Day To You:”

It’s only me, my pad and pen
My thoughts while drifting by
A very private love affair
This poetry and I…..

There doesn’t have to be anyone else present for it to happen; you just need yourself to be there, anywhere, anytime.

I also enjoy the challenge of condensing thoughts and feelings, or stories, into short sentences or passages. My poems are very traditionally composed in that I like for them to rhyme, hence another challenge. In the poem, “The Sacrifice:”

Too suddenly it happened
Not a warning nor a sign
Like an undersea tornado
It sucked them out in little time
She knew the chance was very slim
That help would come in time
To save her son from drowning
She would leave herself behind……

This is a true story that could be written as a chapter in a book, but in poetry, it is condensed into a couple of pages.

In “A Reason:”

Disbelief, heartache, grief, and despair
Much pain to endure, such crosses to bear
Where lies the beauty that makes it worthwhile
In the midst of life’s chaos, a little child smiles….

I am able to relate my love for children in a few short sentences.

I enjoyed “writing” to you all this week. See you next time. Stay safe everyone!


Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Hi everyone,

LANTERNS OF THE SOUL has successfully attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 20th and 21st. It was seen in their gallery by 130,000 visitors, appeared in the catalogue which was handed out to those in attendance, and was on sale in their bookstore. Hope it did OK.

The inspiration for Lanterns of the Soul

The blog for this week on my book, Lanterns of the Soul concerns the question: “What Was The Inspiration For My Book?”  That is very easy to answer.  I have three beautiful, loving, grown daughters, who, after watching me write all of my poems throughout the years, and listening to me read each one of them aloud as they were finished, came to me a few years ago and pleaded with me to please try to get them published.  Our first attempts at doing so failed because of a bogus publishing company, and I was ready to quit.  But not my girls. They investigated the iUniverse publishing company and talked with someone in the appropriate department before even coming to ask me a second time to do this. Their dream was for me to publish every single poem I had ever written and to get them all in one book.  I think they had some idea of making it into a family heirloom for their children to someday read. They have inspired me, helped me, and pushed me forward whenever I hesitated about going on. I will be forever grateful for all their help, encouragement, advice, and just for always being my sweet daughters, Anna, Melanie and Meghan.

Secondly, I wanted to dedicate my book to my uncle, Harold Willson, who died unexpectedly in his twenties of polio. He loved to write poetry, but didn’t get to pursue it because of his greatly shortened life. I have received my love for poetry from him. I have been able to do what he was unable to do, and I wanted him to be remembered in the pages of my book.

Thank you to those of you who are reading this, and I will talk with you next week on a different topic concerning my book. Hope you have a safe and pleasant week!

A BlueInk Review of Lanterns of the Soul

The following is a BlueInk Review of my book, Lanterns of the Soul:

Lanterns of the Soul: A Poetic Journey through Life

Lynda Harris
iUniverse, 351 pages, $20.95, (paperback), 978-1-4502-7623-8, (Reviewed: April 2013)

Lynda Harris, mother of three and grandmother of seven, has written a large book of poems that date from the 1960s through 2010. Each of the book’s five sections is arranged in roughly chronological order, giving a helpful sense of organization to this tome.

After the Introduction, the titles of the first four sections begin with “A Lantern on” and end with “Love and Family,” “Faith, God, and His Creations,” “Man’s Mortality,” and “Philosophy, Life, and Self.” The last section is simply titled, “Ending Lantern.”

While the poems generally lack surprise, there are pleasures to be found, especially if readers find traditional rhythms and rhyme patterns soothing. The poem “The Farm,” for example, might remind one of the feel of 19th century poetry such as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in its diction and sing-song pattern: “Down the stairs we hurried / And hid behind the door / To glimpse the milk truck in the lane— / ‘Twas what we’d wakened for.”

A fair number of poems are addressed to God, such as a longer piece set in four-line stanzas titled “Letter to God.” These poems tend to wrestle with the timeless question of a compassionate and all-powerful God’s seeming indifference to human suffering: “Each sorrow makes me question, / Though I know it’s not my place, / You could have interceded / With Your instant saving Grace.”

Some poems contain imagery that, while not original, is achieved with a lively tone and a pleasing iambic meter, as in a darker somewhat Dickensian poem, “Lone Beggar Man,” which sympathizes like this, “The jagged street with broken glass / Is hard on shoeless feet. / The puddles, filled with mud—alas!— / Accommodate the falling sleet.”

This is the work of a fluent writer. While somewhat predictable, the poems gracefully reflect the everyday concerns that many readers share and will appreciate.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.