If you’ve known me for long enough then you know that I absolutely adore reading poetry. It is one of my favourite genres to write and to read, I adore how it makes you feel and how powerful those words on a page can actually be.
Rebecca Holland’s Through My Good Eye is just that – it grabs you and forces you into its orbit. Although quite a short collection, the poems that are within the small chapbook are wonderful. Holland writes with more of a traditional poetic melody that reminds me of poets such as Emily Dickenson and Wilfred Owen. Holland’s writing is quite intricate in nature but is done so in a way that the reader can easily feel and understand the purpose of each poem, the emotional nature of it and that is where Holland’s real talent lay. Before I go any further, I’ll provide you with the synopsis available from Goodreads:
The world never expected much from Rebecca, but God had other plans.
Marked as different from an early age by her visual disability and her ethnic features, Rebecca was once told by a teacher in her small hometown that she would never go to college.
After enduring years of abuse, Rebecca almost gave up on herself; however, God had other plans. God gave Rebecca a new life and an unexpected new identity as a preacher in her beloved United Methodist Church.Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse , gives the reader a glimpse of the world the way the author sees it. This brief chapbook includes poems from her first five years in ministry as she worked toward ordination, fell in love with her congregation, and eventually found her own, “happily ever after.”
An earnest statement of faith in the midst of struggle, this collection invites you to take a look at the world from an entirely new perspective.
Holland combines poetry concerning female empowerment, family, faith and love. I would have to say that one of my favourite poems from this collection is ‘Trade Tongue: for all those who are separated by a sea of words”. It took my heart and crushed it in agony, it is such a beautifully written poem. It explores the generational and historical effects of colonial trauma:
I have an ear for the language of conquerors
The cadence of tyrants trips lightly off my tongue
I speak the language of imperialism
For when they conquered us
They silenced our song
And tried to erase us.
And one of my favourite lines, that is also so incredibly painful and beautiful:
I can only cry for help
In a tongue that will never be mine
I focus on this poem just to show you how this collection of poetry is infinitely more than just words on a page, but speaks of history and of trauma; but also a journey of hope and love – both romantic and self.
I don’t know how many times I can say it is beautiful, because that is what it is.
My only critique would have to be that I wanted more. It is quite a small book and I felt that Holland had so much more to say and because of the length, I also felt that the poetry wasn’t able to delve into a more deeper emotionality as a result of its length. Thus, some poems did feel a bit more superficial, but I will be looking forward to Holland’s further work in the future.
So, all in all, I give Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse by Rebecca Holland a 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend anyone who enjoys poetry and has 20 minutes to spare, to read Holland’s poetry collection because it will be 20 minutes well spent.
That’s it for today, friends! Until next time, happy reading!
Rev. Rebecca L. Holland (M.Div. & B.S. English Ed) is the pastor at Christ Community United Methodist Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Rebecca is particularly passionate about spreading the love of God to those who have been traditionally marginalized by society. She writes about ministry, the church, literature, and her life as a young female clergywoman of colour with a visual disability on her blog at www.beckiewrites.com
The profits earned from this collection will be donated to Christ Community United Methodist Church.
Can purchase on Amazon here.