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The US Review of Books

Further Collected Poems
by B. E. Stock

book review by Mark Heisey

“…the new landscape
Is being unpacked, and the same eyes
Behold unfolding leaves and hear
A breeze that seems to speak in cadences
Of wordless comfort:”

In addition to the periodicals in which Stock’s poems appear, she’s published two chapbooks and a volume titled Collected Poems (2001). This new book represents work from that point through 2017. The poems are grouped under common themes. Among these are relationships, art, and religion. The poems are a mix of free and rhymed verse. They range from multiple page narrative pieces to short poems of a stanza or two. The memorable pieces in this collection employ sophisticated literary devices such as assonance, consonance, and internal rhyme to convey rhythm and sound.

Taken from the poem “Rooted,” the lines quoted above are a good example of these literary devices in use. Her skills can also be seen in “He Urges Her To Hesitate” when referencing a wedding ring:

Carry it in your pocket, bring it to the bottom of your dreams
To be tested against the color of your coral reef,
Your striped fish, the abundant weeds and rocky cliffs
I will never see.

The repetition of the consonant “c,” the internal rhymes of “reef,” “weeds,” and “see,” as well as “fish,” and “cliffs” all work in harmony to create a well-crafted, lyrical experience. Admittedly, in a volume containing over 100 poems, there are pieces that do not work as well as others. “Poetry Foundation” is a complaint which closes with a pair of trite couplets, while “The Maple Tree” and “Office Party” work too hard to rhyme to their detriment. Interestingly, the closing of the latter is reminiscent of Theodore Roethke’s “The Waking.” Stock is at her best, though, when the poems act as a mirror of our humanity.

Pacific Book Review

Title: Further Collected Poems
Author: B. E. Stock
Publisher: XlibrisUS
ISBN: 9781984539458
Pages: 152
Genre: Poetry
Reviewed by: Anita Lock


Award-winning author B. E. Stock creates paradoxes in her latest book, Further Collected Poems. This collection of over one-hundred poems covers a multitude of liferelated topics, which Stock somehow manages to group together into five sections: “You and I”; “We”; “He”; “Visions”; and “Beauty Mead.” Eleven poems from Further Collected Poems have been featured in literary journals, such as Coe Review, Lalitamba, Merton Seasonal, Trajectory, Poetry Porch, Blue Unicorn, and Time of Singing.

“Never judge a book by its cover” pretty much captures Stock’s writing style. Her firstand second-person poems, replete with irony, reflect a slightly skewed aspect than one may expect when considering the general theme or subject per section coupled with the poem’s titles. Some readers may feel that Stock colors her poetry based on a halfempty- glass viewpoint. This reviewer sees a woman who speaks to the irony of life’s choices. Filled with abstractions and strong mental imagery, Stock cuts to the chase and tells it as it is. Whether designed as lilts, quatrains, sonnets, couplets, or free
verses, Stock presents a vulnerable side to life that is not always comfortable to discuss. Her words are pointed and visceral, but at the same time downright straightforward.

In “What the Old Man Said,” the concept of love is anything but flowery. Stock focuses on the strife often associated with love when it heads in another direction, such as suicide and emotional enslavement. Stock presents the reality of war in “After the War” and “The Anti-Hero,” as a vet attempts to transition into civilian life while dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and a father sending a reminder not to repeat history, respectively.

As a New Yorker, Stock includes various reflections based on her observations on the after effects of 9/11, such as in “Tourists at Ground Zero” and “Phobia.” Her descriptions, undergirded with reverence, are nothing less than thought provoking.

In closing, Stock states: “I write in and out of form, in many modes and voices, so you are sure to find something to enjoy and perhaps share with a friend. For thus we refresh the soul of the world.” Further Collected Poems provides readers with plenty of food for thought. This would be a great book for a reading group or poetry club, and all fans of poetry. Anyone so inclined to lose themselves in an array of extraordinary experiences should indulge in a copy of this book.