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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Still Lives by Kimberly K Williams

Mixing up prose and lyric poetry, as well as some experimental poems that use white space as much as the words themselves, Still Lives by Kimberly Williams is an understated collection of beautiful and wonderfully rich language to explore life as it is at this moment in time.

Still Lives is split between two sub collections - the titular Still Lives and the second, (T)here both of which explore themes of connection, isolation, disillusionment, and loss. Each piece draws the reader into the rhythmic pulse of the poems, creating soundscapes through the lyricism as much as the imagery through the vocabulary.

Some of the more poignant pieces include “Colors for Kiev”. They reach inside and force you to consider more than just what is in front of you.

By coincidence (which is never pure)

everyone wears the white vestments

of angels & bears a candle. A beige

paper circle wraps the lower end

of each ivory stick, catching what

drips. A monk in a brown robe

nods at each person’s exit

(“Colors for Kiev”)

It is clear that much of the work has been inspired and completed during the worldwide lockdowns and the separation that has had lasting effects on Williams - and, indeed, so many artists who have taken the pandemic as somewhat of a muse, kindling fires in their bellies and producing incredible work during these last few years.

Daily, I scrawl notes, writing pages of

phrases wherein I can’t say what I think.

Not saying takes more words than

saying, so I compose those spaces, too.

(“Lost in Space”)

Overall, the experimental style does have its moments; however, some of the poems seem to lack cohesion when too much white space is used requiring a little too much heavy lifting on the part of the reader.

In saying that, when she gets it right, the words just sing off the page. There are some moments of insight which are beautifully composed and crafted, demonstrating a flair on Williams’ part to create magic and insight. A highly worthwhile read.

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Gazebo Books


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