Diane's Reviews > King Alfred's Jewel: Poetry of the Imagination and Imaginative Photography

King Alfred's Jewel by David   Hamilton
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it was amazing

The poetry genre as a whole holds many avenues for display and understanding, a very long history of controversy, and much debate over its wellsprings of inspiration in psychology, literary influence, and social evolution. All this is covered in depth in an introduction which basically takes the genre's history and synthesizes its influences in a literary examination of poetry's evolution and philosophical influences.

It's unusual to see this kind of introduction in a collection anticipated to be free verse explorations of self; but then, this kind of opening should offer the idea that King Alfred's Jewel: Poetry of the Imagination and Imaginative Photography will be anything but your usual gathering of personal insights, offering something both extraordinary and a cut above the ordinary - and in this, it does not disappoint.

King Alfred's Jewel is actually two long epic poems that sweep through themes of a journey undertaken and a jewel unearthed because of it. The book consists of two narrative poems and a dramatic monologue. The poems deal with depression and the Dark Night of the Soul, while the dramatic monologue presents deceased outlaws coming back to tell their stories on a May evening in Sherwood Forest. The title poem uses the imagery of journey and jewel as its shining light as it probes essences of spirituality and psychology, examining the sources of modern angst and depression and considering the stormy road to spiritual and emotional redemption.

There are dragons and inheritances, outlaw legends and metaphors that connect past to present, and streams of consciousness impressions. In choosing these particular formats and weaving a cloak of inspection, history and psychological depth, King Alfred's Jewel is actually much more accessible - despite its lengthy presentations - than one would expect, making it a recommendation for readers who might normally consider the poetic form too constrained, too regulated, and too inaccessible.

King Alfred's Jewel is a delight on many levels. Add black and white photos throughout and a selection of color photos by the author, which act as both illustration and interlude to the written word, and you have a collection that stands out in the genre: something firmly rooted in literary, historical, spiritual and psychological traditions, but most definitely more than the sum of its parts.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 1, 2015 – Finished Reading
May 23, 2015 – Shelved

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