Book Review: In the Shadow of Rainbows by Selma Martin

In anticipation of Selma Martin’s debut poetry collection, I am delighted to share an advanced book review of In The Shadow of Rainbows, a beautiful and moving poetry collection.

Book Description: “In this dazzling debut poetry collection of over 60 carefully selected poems, author Selma Martin points the way to the beauty in the everyday, the shadow of the rainbow, and the silver lining at the edge of every cloud.

Favouring lyrical forms, and revelling in rhymes and musical language, the individual poems in this collection harmonise together in symphonic splendour to form an enlightening and delightful whole.”

In the Shadow of Rainbows Book Review

Selma says of this book, “Are you my mother?’ Each poem will ask.

I’m confident that one poem in this book will take your hand, reunite you with your echo and take you home — found and richer with you-ness for having been seen. That’s what I want one poem to do for you.”

And indeed, each poem roots itself in the reader’s heart with its imagery and profound emotion, seeking to make that personal connection that makes it the one poem. Yet each poem is unique in its message and narrative, imparting anecdotes alongside observations of nature.

Experience the carefully crafted nature of words as delicate and evocative as “The mist parted at last/as did youth’s bitterness/and, though the blush sank fast/remains your soft caress” alongside lines as soulful as “She’s the one who will slide off a full moon/to land gently at your feet like a spark/and retire so you can see stars or fireflies/so you’re never afraid of the dark.”

In the Shadow of Rainbows Book Review

In the Shadow of Rainbows takes us into the shadows in our lives; it explores lost moments of life alongside tortured emotion, as in “Tears of rage and anger/stain her eyelids maroon/as she rots slow like moldering topsoil.” And if that sounds poignant, it is because it is. Each word reaches down into the reader and lays the foundation for something greater, something deeply personal, something that begins to heal. And as much as this book takes us into the shadows, it also takes us out into the light again and reminds us to look up, to see the “rainbows on my eyelashes” and to step out into the sunshine again.

I greatly enjoyed the narrative arc of this book and its dance through light and shadow. I felt the whisper of dark alongside the prism of rainbow in every other poem and spent time with this collection as I ruminated with the poetry in search of my one poem.

I came to love two poems. The gorgeous imagery and lyrical flow of “You Know Her” stayed with me onward from the one-third point of the book, but “Her Mind” near the beginning of the collection is the poem I kept coming back to.

Her Mind, a poem from In the Shadow of Rainbows by Selma Martin

Heavy with a languor
like the somnolence of noon
uncanny how she lived through the turmoil

Tears of rage and anger
stain her eyelids maroon
as she rots slow like moldering topsoil

In the bluing hour
she rouses to the thunder,

shrilling like a kettle on the boil:

The stale air that blows sour,
sunned asphalt that sickens her–
reality lands and swallows up her spoils.

What a poem! It is neither sad nor happy yet skillfully lingers in between and speaks to Selma’s voice as a poet. How I love the way this poem inspires me to think and to feel. Such is the nature of this collection and its ability to evoke emotion and memories.

I encourage you to enjoy In the Shadow of Rainbows as it weaves its lyrical prose and skillful imagery and invites you to search for your one poem within its pages time and time again.

I recommend In the Shadow of Rainbows to the reader who is not afraid to embrace the personal nature of poignant writing and to all lovers of poetry. It is an empowering and reflective collection to be enjoyed in our most personal moments poem by poem again.

In the Shadow of Rainbows releases July 15th in paperback and you can pre-order the e-book here. Be sure to follow the publisher, Experiments In Fiction for further announcements and news regarding the book, and take a moment to explore Selma’s website for a further taste of her beautiful writing!

Explore my review section for further book reviews.


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