Cynthia Joyce Clay, et al, editors,
The Oestara Anthology of Pagan Poetry
(BookSurge/Oestara, 2005)

The poems collected in The Oestara Anthology of Pagan Poetry were submitted as part of a poetry contest held by Oestara Publishing. The poems were supposed to express pagan imagery and thought; the results are wide ranging and different poems will speak to different people.

The book opens with an introduction that explains a bit more about the contest. The first poems are the various winning poems and with each is commentary by the judges on how the poem or poet was chosen.

Structurally, I could not find any difference between the free verse poems and the dream-received poems. So I found the fact that the dream-received poems were judged against the traditional forms perplexing.

The greater portion of the poems sent in were free verse, and they range in length from six lines to five pages, though most are around a page in length. The imagery used varies from poet to poet and some of the poets use imagery to better effect than others. The linking imagery in Ted Merritt's poems is but one example of the good. On the other hand, the structure of Nikhil Parekh's "The Dance" weighs the poem down. There are but a handful of traditional forms and dream-received poems.

The book ends with some more thoughts and poems by the judges about poetry and more specifically pagan poetry. These pieces give a rounder feel for some of the things the individual judges were looking for in the poems. The collection of poems is a mixed bag and, while it is a pleasant read as a whole, it is not a must-read, no matter how good some of the poems are.

review by
Paul de Bruijn

24 May 2008

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