Zeal Aspiring is Ophelia's second book of poetry. Containing 92 of her poems, Zeal Aspiring examines lessons learned from walking with God, and shares her ponderings about friendship, growing up, hardships, life, and redemption....
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Zeal Aspiring Reviews
I enjoyed this book, as someone who hasn't read a lot of poetry before. The content of the poems have at times brought me to tears, and encouraged me in ways I can't explain. I would suggest clicking on the book cover over on amazon and looking for yourself before buying, and see for yourself.Zeal Aspiring touches on many facets of life...and where it has resonated with me strongest, it has left me in tears, or inspired Joy (in the sense Lewis uses the word), pointing me toward the new Heaven and Earth, the Very Good that we all will one day spend eternity in (or apart from).The main differences between this book and Ophelia's first book, Sixteen, So In Love With You, would be the size (the book is, I want to say, twice as long), and the quality of the poetry. Though I really liked Sixteen, I can see the improvement the author has made in her craft since her first book.Zeal Aspiring is also very similar to Sixteen in its content. Many of the poems portray the (often strained or impeded) walk of a Christian with God. The topics touched on in this book differ slightly, I believe, focusing more on memories and friendship than I remember Sixteen doing, while also hitting theology, love, humility, fear.The single common theme that threads through every one of these poems is the devotional quality of thought that they carry. Whatever the poem may be about, whether it is telling the story of a wide-eyed child, or looking through the tear-blurred eyes of a broken redeemed sinner, it never separates itself entirely from the perspective that God is there, and He is not silent, nor passive, even when He seems to be.
I was happy to hear this author, a friend of mine, had put out another collection. It will be coming out on Kindle soon. I know because I just formatted the file. ;)This collection seems overall more sober in tone than the author's previous collection. It includes several poems about "growing up," and most of the topics clearly come from a young heart realizing what adulthood means for life and our relationship with God.
The poems are far better than what I typically wrote at the age of seventeen or eighteen. And the author's choice of subject matter and the content of the poems, as far as I could see, show sense and promise.But after years of honing my craft as a poet, immersing myself in the work of the good and great poets of past eras, I found this book almost as frustrating and painful to try to read as my own earliest efforts. (Almost, because my poems were "not any good" in the aspect of content as well as of form.)There's a passage from the novel A College of Magics that I always quote when talking about my opinion about poetry (and literature in general). It's a confrontation between the main character, Faris Nalaneen, and her deportment teacher:"It's just an arbitrary set of standards. Why should I waste time learning to point my toes in a way that went out of fashion three hundred years ago? Why shouldn't I set my own fashions?""You must form your own fashions in a way which demonstrates that you flout the standards from knowledge, not from ignorance," replied Dame Brachet. . . . . "You will be expected to speak with those of high degree and to speak fair to high and low. Your manner will be as vital as your matter, and in some sad cases, your matter will not amount to much. So you had better learn a manner to make up for your other shortcomings."From the first words, Faris followed this speech with eyes narrowed. "But I may flout the standards?""Of course," said Dame Brachet, with some asperity. "What do you think standards are for?"Many of my friends have heard me complain at length about what I call "random-newline poetry," which appears to be prose (and usually not very good prose at that) broken into lines of "verse" apparently at random. And, to her credit, this author has avoided that particular form of childishness. And her "matter" (to use Dame Brachet's phrase) "amounts to" more than most of the adolescent poets whose work I have read. But the poems in this volume, while they have their own patterns, do not demonstrate knowledge of the "standards" of past centuries, and so, I---who have trained myself to "hear" the patterns traditionally followed by poets in English---found this volume all but impossible to read at all closely.A former Poet Laureate has said that "we are all born with two hundred bad poems in us." I think that this author could be a poet to be reckoned with, once she has found a voice in the conversation of the poets of the past with those of the present and future, and has had more practice. But not yet.
poetry by an amazing person.