Author: Don Gutteridge
Title: Lilacs in Lavender Light
ISBN: 978-1-989786-06-2 = 9781989786062
Trade Paperback: 134 pages – 6 X 9
Suggested Retail (Paperback): $19.95
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Lilacs in Lavender Light, is filled with lush, light-brushed imagery caught in the perfect prism of the poet’s memory and his profound recollections of what others might let fade. This collection will waken your memories.
The memories of the poet’s childhood loom large in these image-rich poems. Lilacs in Lavender Light is filled with wonderfully rhythmic poems: the green Eden of grandfather’s grass, the lilac hedge hugging the grounds, the May foaming of spiria. Boyhood friendships and the dawning of sexuality are touchingly recalled. Later poems deal lovingly with the loss of his wife of fifty-seven years and his life as an aging grandfather. Shot through with a wry nostalgia and a keen eye for remembered detail, this collection will leave a lasting impression on the reader.
Lilacs in Lavender Light is Don Gutteridge’s thirty-eighth collection of poems written on the heels of his 600 page book, Point Taken. Following the pattern set in Don’s later lyrics, the three-stress line and the liberal use of rhyme, imitative harmony and assonance are the principal features of the verse. Don explores a variety of themes: the nostalgic (if wry) memories and observations of childhood and adolescence, the first fumblings of sex, the pain of early and thwarted romance, the Dickensian characters that peopled his boyhood village and the loving landscape around it: the singing sands of Canatara beach and its oak-shaded park, the blue blur of Lake Huron, the River Flats where kites teased the big wind off the lake, First Bush where the sun rose each magical morning like a flower aflame, the milkweed meadow opposite grandfather’s house where we played our ritual games till darkness came down, grandfather’s lawn as green as the demesnes of Eden and the lilac hedge in its lavender light. Later poems are dedicated to his late wife of fifty-seven years, touching elegiacs of a love that lasted more than five decades, and paeans to his six grandchildren who make is waning years a constant delight. Tucked in here and there are meditations on the craft of poesy and the nature of verse itself. This is a collection that will appeal to the poetry lover and the general reader alike.
In Lilacs in Lavender Light, I found myself transported into the perspective of the author where I was able to view the world through his eyes and partake in a little piece of his world. The descriptions are well-formed and deep which will help readers stay hand-in-hand with the author until the very end. Gutteridge has provided a unique world with a sturdy body and powerful legs that accomplishes its task of keeping readers engaged. It is likely that poetry lovers will latch on to this book from the start and stick with it through the journey. I did, and I appreciate the opportunity to share a small piece of the author’s life.
Jacob R LaMar
for Readers’ Favorite
Lilacs in Lavender Light is a poignant collection of poetry that will make you appreciate life, love, and all they have to offer. The writing is lyrical and full of imagery to stimulate the senses – using nature as a primary source of comparison, but other themes as well. With expert timing, each poem reveals thoughts and moods about the author’s important and formative relationships – from childhood through marriage. Each poem can stand on its own as a work in itself, but taken as a whole, the work is a kaleidoscopic ode to life, told in sights, sounds, smells, textures, and feelings. It’s clear Gutteridge knows his way around a poem or two. His writing skill takes you into a village and beyond for a journey through childhood and middle-age. The poems are written with meticulous care for sound and imagery as if he wants to pull you back through time with his memories so that you can capture the moments as he did. Perhaps the most touching are the ones that come later when he is talking about lost love, hope for the future, and of bonds that never end. Some poetry is written on the surface, meant to be taken at face value. But Lilacs in Lavender Light is a collection of poems that you happily get to mine for a deeper meaning. When poetry can work on exterior and interior levels, you know you’re reading art.
for Readers’ Favorite