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Review: Faceted Eye

Joy Harold Helsing



Faceted Eye
Joy Harold Helsing, 2006
13871 Andover Drive
Magalia, CA 95954
24 pgs./ Paper
$5.00 (includes postage)
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Brevity Magnified:
A Review of Joy Harold Helsing's Faceted Eye

        The littlest gifts often have great appeal. Whatever they come wrapped in, intrigue arises once the wrappers come off: small gifts just big enough to pry curiosity out of the observant. Small enough to slip into another person's hand, or away for safekeeping.

        Some of the littlest poems are like that, too. They might be called "brief poems" or "micro-poems", but however we term them, they are gifts— of a concentrated nature. Small enough to give readers pause to look for their subtle facets. Big enough to ensnare a single, transitory moment in time, to then procure its gem of thought.

        Joy Harold Helsing brings her gift-like, small poems together in a handsome, new chapbook she's produced, titled Faceted Eye. On the cover is a halftone photo of a magnified fly's eye – an apt predictor of the sharply magnified vignettes inside the book's square-cut pages.

        I admire brief poems. Successful ones are much harder to write than they appear. So much to be said in so little space. Helsing is obviously practiced at accomplishing this. In her seven-line poem, performance, careful readers will note the exacting use of metaphor and sound to create onomatopoeia (a word that imitates the sound it represents) – "rain / pings percussion / on the chimney cap" – a poem that deftly defines its title by use of both poetic devices and musical terminology.

        And like clever gifts (ones which typically marry extra functions or other special features with basic concepts), the majority of poems included in Faceted Eye make use of this effective marriage of basic title with precise, often clever, image-filled lines— a construction site's power tools shock the air with feline snarls and raking claws in a mere four lines; the irony of an ancient forest's demise coming about through cutting, to be sold in polished slabs to tourists, is shown clearly in a matter of ten, concise words.

        One of the most thoughtful poems among many in this entertaining collection, as something lies dying, is made up of only three lines, seven words! Its simple statement provides big metaphor, relating carrion birds to beneficiaries, but these words are arranged just so, producing silence at the end (the sort of silence left after a graveyard is freshly tended, then locked to visitors) which begs for further conversation.

        Within this poetry collection's twenty-four pages, metaphors and similes spring hardily against criticism, these "tall, thin trees / slant like giraffes," and stand again. Faceted Eye is a gift of brevity and magnification. One you'll enjoy for its subtle – and no little – wit.

                                                                ~ By Dallas J. Bryant

Many of the poems in the Faceted Eye chapbook collection have appeared individually in other publications, but now they form a unified grouping that makes the perfect, small gift.

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