Tara's Reviews > Unscrambled Eggs

Unscrambled Eggs by Nadia Janice Brown
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's review
Jun 01, 09

bookshelves: poetry
Read in June, 2009

Overall, a satisfying first collection that will no doubt grab the hearts and minds of readers who are looking for clean, simple lines of poetry that speak of soul growth, natural wonders, inspiration in the everyday, and the process of transforming loss into understanding. These poems are wise—and often short, straightforward in their use of language and image—as they reflect on the speaker’s life experiences, people she has known, her cultural ancestry, and the soul lessons she has learned.

The poems in Unscrambled Eggs remind me of the poetry of Lucille Clifton for their tautness, their focus on ordinary life and experience. In her poem, “Liquid Muse,” Brown describes well her approach to writing the poem: “tell me what do your imageries speak/ what good are handsome metaphors/ when profoundness eludes your pen/ I have no fancy rhymes/ my poetry will not boast of windmill autumns/…but at least I offer more than words.” She is writing for every man and woman, without pretention or pretense. She writes from her Being, hard and true about what she sees (and knows) in her life. For example, in “The Writer,” Brown writes of an adolescent girl living in poverty who dreams of being a writer: “You seem beyond your fifteen years/ quite older than the strawberry jam girl you are/ but underneath your myth of make believe stars/ you are like every one else/ trying to figure their place to dam a need/ along this stretch of creation/ where days are no longer trusted/ and nights don’t care much for anyone.”

There is also a musical quality to these poems that remind me of song. Take, for example, “Only a Girl,” the lines in the final stanza: “If only I followed you with earnest/ I would not shake like December limbs/ or fetter my wings with snow,” or the first lines of “There Were No Bells”: “She said there were no bells/ only her clam hands/ and fretful feet rattled in the eve.” Beautiful imagery, a somewhat unusual syntax that marks Brown as an original voice, and a lovely rhythm that moves like spoken song. Only a handful poems in this collection fall short of their full potential, such as “Sea of Poor,” where the speaker is onto something right and true, yet the words are possibly too abstract to create strong feeling: “In a country of gold and ledger/ lives a sea of poor/ living in calamity/ and discontentment.” However, I think this collection will be a welcome and loved edition to a reader’s bookshelf, especially outside academia and among “ordinary” readers—people just like you and me.
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Reading Progress

05/27/2009 page 33

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim McGarrah I don't know that I would call you an "ordinary reader" Tara. You are one of the few very bright spots on a dim horizon.

Tara :)

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