In this collection spanning over 20 years, Jennifer's was inspired by traits from some of the standouts of classical world poetry. As a result, her poems often uniquely feature tight, condensed lines over rich imagery and rhythm. Calm and lingering, the stirring content's coupled with purposeful word placement.
Reduction Fired is set out in 4 sections, each named for a season that represents a period in time. Specifically, they are grouped loosely in the reverse order they were written, with those under "Winter" being more recent poems from Jennifer's early 40s, penned when she was ill, and those under "Spring" being a few of her poems from her early 20s. Also, each poem's illustrations and symbolism are often taken from nature.
Structurally, Jennifer strives to break lines decisively, perhaps where they may suggest more than one meaning, or lead the reader down one path only to make an abrupt turn at the end. The author hopes that those readers who wish might enjoy contemplating the multiple possibilities and the chosen outcome.
The collection’s four sections, named for the seasons, are distinctive. In “Winter”’s poem “Estuaries,” she speaks in persona—“Eddies of them flow/past as bark mulch”—and expresses yearning toward an unidentified muse in “Autumn”’s vivid “Chalk Drawings,” writing “My deepest organs /now knead them / selves thin / to think I was / close enough / to touch your / face / arm / back but / held back enough.” At times, enjambment complicates clarity, but when Camara delves into longer lines and elevated diction (“jocund mirth”) meaning crystallizes: “while my love skulks in the shadows of your heart.” An author’s note explains her approach: “Lines are built only long enough to hold what is needed.”
Camara dives into spiritual themes in “Spring” and demonstrates power and eros in “Daydream” (“I find / my bones yet longing for your weight”), and imitates haiku in a sprinkling of smaller poems: “Waiting for winter / in August it seems better / to know than not know.” True to the economy of language of influences like Rabindranath Tagore, this grounded, spiritually curious collection offers an unpredictable inquiry into nature, relationships, and the styles that have inspired the poet.
Takeaway: Scrupulous in their minimalism, these poems still are alive with meaning and feeling.
Great for fans of: Myung Mi Kim, Lucille Clifton.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: A
"...I have many poetic collections on my bookshelf, but none of them is similar to this one...Camara has managed to create an enchanting picture in just a few lines or even a single line. This is even more astonishing considering that the lines often consist of three words or less...The delicacy of the images and the brevity of Camara's poetry will remain as vivid impressions in my memory...a standalone book in my collection." - Astrid Lustulin, Readers' Favorite, USA
"...the reader is immersed in metaphors of light and sound reflective of music...There are scholarly reflections, too...there is considerable depth in her poems...She is an artist on many levels. Reduction Fired is a stunning, provocatively pensive collection of poems and photographs to enjoy many times over." - Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Readers' Favorite, USA
"...Each breathtaking season has its own flavor and feel...staggeringly beautiful in its imagery. The allure of nature and its effortless rhythm provide the vibrant outline, but the themes of life, love, and loss are what color the pages...Camara time and again makes the art of creating poetry seem effortless...The words are plain and unadorned, but the feelings they summon are visceral and untamed... - Jennifer Jackson, Indies Today, USA
"... stunning poetry that you can easily get lost in. I loved the abundance of nature imagery that was a consistent theme throughout. ... You could definitely tell that every sentence was carefully placed and had a clear sense of purpose. ... Reduction Fired is an impressive collection that develops such themes as love, strength, loss and so much more. It also felt like a personal, embodied work, reminiscent about life, both the highs and lows. I thought it was a joy to read." - Lois Cudjoe, LoveReadingUK, England
"...the author shares snippets of experiences from various relationships (not all romantic) as well as other events from her life...The poems...show the growth within the author but also how the events of her life has left a scar that is still healing. The most moving verses are found in the poem titled Michelle, who lost her battle with bi-polar depression." - @melisbookreviews, Goa, India
"...Jennifer Yeates Camara has a lovely way with words. Each of her poems feels personal and truthful. She searches within herself and finds pieces of her mind, heart, and soul. The ability to gracefully write the way Camara does is refreshing. Reduction Fired gives us a glimpse into the deepest parts of Jennifer Yeates Camara, uniting the reader with the author in an honest way." - Rachel M. Patterson, Reedsy
I had a terrific interview last week with Sheri at Reader Views on the author podcast, Inside Scoop Live!
As we discussed my writing style and background, we touched on everything from Pacific Northwest architecture to cowboy poetry, and I had the pleasure of reading two poems from my book, Reduction Fired. Please enjoy this 37 minute session and let me know your thoughts!
Following a thorough 5-star review from Indies Today, reviewer Nicky gave this book recommendation of Jennifer's debut poetry book, Reduction Fired.