Although I dabbled a bit in poetry when I was young (didn't all angst-ridden, young men?) over the years I've come to regard poetry with a bit of disdain and dare I say it, even considered poets to be nothing more than writers who couldn't write decent prose. The poetry I have read, either voluntarily, or forced to have read through study, has usually reinforced my judgment of this form of writing.
And, then along comes Shaheen Darr, with her collection of poems entitled Soul Searching and all my previous slants against poetry and poets are blasted out of the water.
This poet's ability to seek the fundamental aspects of many of life's great questions, through her words is frankly awe-inspiring.
When I first sat down to read this book, I gritted myself for a turgid stroll through nonsensical combinations of words that were somehow supposed to show the author's superior intellect and grasp of a situation. I couldn't have been further from the truth.
Darr's understanding and ability to express our deepest feelings and our deepest fears, in beautiful, rhythmical, poetic phrasing is second to none that I've read before.
I literally flew through the book, not because I was skimming or not enjoying the poems, but because each poem led me merrily on to the next and I just didn't want to stop the pleasure of the read.
Darr is a wordsmith extraordinaire, but more than that, she has a fundamental grasp of life, its problems and its complexities.
I never thought I would be saying this, but Soul Searching is one of the best books I have read this year, or perhaps, even the last few years.
I doff my hat to the author and humbly declare I am a poetry convert. Well, a convert to Shaheen Darr's poetry anyway.
No question, this time, five massive stars for this wonderful work.