Laura M. Porras,
Alias "The Rose"
(PublishAmerica, 2003)

This book is described as "a 23-year collection of eclectic poetry." There is no doubting the sincerity of emotion through the 110 poems, but this attribute in itself does not always make for success.

At times, there is a problem here with placing the feelings or philosophical reflections into an understandable context. At others, there is a danger of banality particularly at the end of a poem. Overall, a stronger editorial hand was needed, particularly in weeding out the weaker poems and removing mistakes like "it's" for "its." However, there are some poems that speak directly and powerfully.

The opener, "A Room with a View," looks at past life as represented in a room and cleverly turns from the first to the third person as, at the end, "I close the door and wipe her tears away." The title poem is uncharacteristically traditional in the structure of its rhyme scheme and speaks of the poet's confidence towards understanding life: "She had no doubt / That she had learned / What life was about."

"Confusion" and "Decisions" interestingly provide two different takes about being attracted to another: from "I have someone else / I can't take you at all" to "Life is passing you by" and "Don't let this good man pass you by."

"Funeral Song" is a powerful nine-liner capturing a strong feeling of ongoing life: "and may / The grass grow above." "Lunch Break" is a successful imagist-type poem that seems to contextualise emotion more clearly through the cumulative effect of particular images: "rushing waves on the coastline / soft warmth of the summer sun."

"Red Man's Cry" is unusual in focusing on the grief of others and is effectively succinct. The rhyme in the concluding verse emphasises a terrible finality: "The tyranny is over / the fight is done / all of my people / are dead and gone." "Silent Wishes" displays more raw emotion about forbidden love: "I only think that I still / love you I can do no more." "What's Inside" is one of the most convincing poems of self-awareness and reflection with each verse beginning "What's inside of me."

After reading this book there is a sense that it is perhaps based on private journal entries, but not all transfer successfully into poetry. The choice of arranging the poems by titles in alphabetical order does not help to create structure or development. It is the type of collection, though, in which readers will find emotions with which to relate.

- Rambles
written by Andy Jurgis
published 22 May 2004

Buy it from