If you are interested in a collection of poetry that underscores humanity and defines art, look no further than “Mentoring Poems: Four Centuries of Selected Poetry” by Mary Anneeta Mann.
This jewel of a poetry collection is divided into 14 sections with titles such as, Poets, Love, Reflection, War and Wisdom.
If nothing else, this book is a labor of love for the playwright and philosopher.
The 87-year-old Mann only included five of her poems in the volume’s 173 pages.
And oh, what a collection it is.
From William Shakespeare to Rudyard Kipling, Ezra Pound to Emily Dickinson and Emily Bronte to Gerard Manly Hopkins, the river of life runs unhaltingly through these poems.
God’s ocean drowns them with tranquility and tenderness alike.
These poets, scribes and wordsmiths deal in reality, the universe, romance unfurled and death derailed.
As an example, examine “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manly Hopkins (1844-1889).
“Glory to God for dappled things-
For skies as couple-colored as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls, finches’ wings;
Landscapes plotted and pierced-fold, fallow and plow;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim,
All things counter, original, spare, stranger;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow, sweet, sour, adazzle, dim;
He fathers faith whose beauty is past change;
The poets in this tome range from poetic giants such as Shakespeare, Pound, Yeats, Shelley, Keats, Tenyson and Longfellow to local Los Angeles poets like Don”Kingfisher” Campbell and this critic
Poets are the historians and architects of time.
In this volume,we, the readers, begin to understand what was true three or four hundred years ago, still holds true today.
A tear is still a tear.
A laugh is still a laugh.
The very pulse of feeling and rhythm, fear and rhyme have not changed in four centuries.
People still sell their souls for money and power, and their integrity for celebrity and fame.
But some things have not changed: The beauty of words, for instance, has remained.
As in “The Old Stoic” by Emily Bronte (1818-1848).
“Riches I hold in light esteem,
And love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream,
That vanished with the morn:
And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
is ‘leave the heart that now i bear,
and give me liberty!’
Yes, as my swift days near their goal,
‘Tis all that I implore;’
In life and death, a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.”
The sincere talent the poets display is partly due to Mann’s uncanny ability to choose poetry that underlines the sections in the collection.
The genius of the Queensland, Australia native’s decision making is the intense, gifted and genuine work she chooses.
Almost all of which shows why the assembled poets are at or near the top of their games in this inspiring and enlightening collection.
The choices also prove why the 14 sections hold up both emotionally and psychologically as guideposts in a fascinating, revealing and naked celebration of the goodness and power of the written
Another lasting example of the electric and illuminating poetry in this collection is “The Cloths of Heaven” by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).
“Had I the heavens embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams at your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
“Mentoring Poems: Four Centuries of Selected Poetry” succeeds because of its going back in time, not despite it.
The author deserves a world of credit for tackling a project more difficult than it appears and making it work on a contemplative and visceral level.
The North Hollywood, CA resident, who is a gifted poet herself with a Ph.D from The University of Southern California, understands both the plight and magical journey most poets traverse to success.
The former member of the North Hollywood Neighborhood Council is determined to show us the good, bad and ugly, bountiful and buffaloed and beautiful and scarred.
This critic hopes to see more selfless poetry collections such as this emerge from writers’ wombs in North Hollywood or Los Angeles very soon.
It leaves me looking achingly forward to more.
By Radomir Vojtech Luza
Theatre and Book Critic
MENTORING POEMS: FOUR CENTURIES OF SELECTED POETRY
By Mary Anneeta Mann
Author House 2010
Available on Amazon.com
Review of Mary Anneeta Mann’s MENTORING POEMS: Four Centuries of Selected Poetry February 3rd, 2019Radomir Vojtech Luza