Gift of Expression

Written by: M. Duane Rawls

Published By: 1st Books Library

Reviewed by Belinda Sanchez



            I’ve always been a major fan of poetry, so when G-Pop decided to pass a book of poetry on to me to review, I couldn’t resist.  I always love to read things by new and interesting artists and, having never heard of M. Duane Rawls, I jumped at the chance to see what this virtually unknown poet had to offer. 

            Gift of Expression is a collection of over 100 poems split into categories.  “Life’s Struggle (For Peace of Mind)” showcases various poems about finding yourself, understanding your inner workings, growing up, and finding success.  “A Higher Love” includes poetry about just that – love – finding it, losing it, cherishing it, and exploring it.  “Hourglass” includes poetry focusing on the passage of time, changes that one endures, and the huge events in one’s life.  And, finally, “Gift of Expression” contains poetry about expressing yourself and letting your feelings out. 

            The thing I would have to say I liked best about the work of Mr. Rawls would have to be the universality of the subjects he chooses.  There is not one poem in this collection about a topic that I haven’t either experienced or could be brought to realize through his work.  There are a lot of good things about the poems in this book.  The stories told throughout it are inspirational.  One gets the feeling that you could survive anything, as each poem does it’s best to end on at least a semi-positive note. The author has interesting imagery and chooses words in a creative manner. 

            Despite these great things, I can’t help but find some sour notes among the poetry.  Some of the rhymes are a stretch.  I wouldn’t mind a lack of rhyme in a non-rhyming poem, but when one chooses to do a rhyme, it is odd when rhymes feel like they have to be stretched towards to reach. At certain points I wondered if maybe these poems would be better performed live, at a reading or a Poetry Slam, but I’m not sure whether this was what they were intended for.  If they were, then that’s probably the reason for the inconsistent rhythm on some of the poems.  If they aren’t then I’m not sure how to explain it, but at times the poems sound a little bit awkward, as though they need to be sped up to keep rhythm. 

            All in all, I mostly liked M. Duane Rawls’ Gift of Expression.   I wish I had heard it spoken instead of read it, but some of the poems were very touching and all of them were relevant.  Despite my issues with the work, I would love to see more work from Mr. Rawls. 


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