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“Finding the Light in the Dark”

The Summer 2021 issue of Kaleidoscope features one book review. Sandra J. Lindow’s “Finding the Light in the Dark,” covers An Eclipse and a Butcher by Ann-Chadwell Humphries (Muddy Ford Press, 2020).

The review begins:

Consisting of thirty-eight poems, and an “Introduction” by Ed Madden, Poet Laureate of Columbia South Carolina, Ann-Chadwell Humphries’s poetry collection is well-wrought and accessible to any educated reader. As an adult, Humphries lost her vision from a genetic disorder called retinitis pigmentosa. Her website, ann-chadwellhumphries.com, describes the process of her loss “I went from (seeing through) a hula hoop to a donut and then a straw.” Her poem “My Blind Obsession” delineates how she struggled with advancing disease and at first and tried to ignore it, chase it from her yard,

but it would not leave.
So blindness and I shook hands, became friends.

Becoming friends with blindness seems a nearly impossible process, but although Humphries admits to drawing “blood” in her fight with the disease, she is convincing when she asserts that her life has become better because of her blindness (website).  Her other senses have become stronger, and she claims to have “at least sixteen” of them including “sense of memory, sense of organization, sense of concentration, sense of movement, sense of orientation, [and] sense of humor” (website). Her sense of humor, in particular has been “an asset when forced to change” (41). Her wry wit peeks from many of her poems, especially when she announces that “love is blind” (41). Scents of Listerine and linseed oil wander into her poems, exemplifying her sensory grounding in the physical world. She feels the vines and flowers gilded on the cover of a rare book as if she is actually seeing them. Her powerful sense of visual organization, part memory, part something else, allows her to “imagine how people look” when she talks with them (41). All these talented senses become apparent to her readers and listening audiences, especially when she recites her poetry from memory.

Kaleidoscope‘s issues are free online, so visit their website to check out the rest of this book review.

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