Those searing lines, though, are the pointed exceptions in a collection that often is as buoyant as the hot air balloons depicted on its cover, as Thomas celebrates all that makes life worth living and fighting for, from hydrangeas (“Their blooms last longer than a social media vine”) to departed greats (“Reign on forever, my purple Prince”), to the interconnectedness of creation explored in the ecstatic “One With Nature,” which opens with “My skin is like the Black Dirt region of a Hawaiian beach” and builds to the inimitable “My tears are like the falling waters at/ Frank Lloyd Wright’s UNESCO/ World Heritage House.”
Such striking connections power Thomas’s most compelling work, inviting readers to contemplate the possible meanings. Other poems, especially on spiritual or inspirational topics, tend toward the didactic or proscriptive, lacking such mystery (“If you find your life going off course,/ stop the car and pull out the map,” though they’re still touched by the poet’s inimitable wisdom, clarity, and sense of hope.
Takeaway: A rousing collection of poems that celebrates all that makes life worth living and justice worth fighting for.
Great for fans of: Ruben Rivera’s Z is for Zapatazo, Shamir Kali Griffin.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A