Book Reviews

Lower Hanging Fruit by Newell and Hodges

D Everett Newell in his latest poetry collection ‘Lower Hanging Fruit’ presents the truest expression of his feelings. All the poetic qualities that touch the human heart are visible in his poems.

In several poems included in ‘Lower Hanging Fruit’, Newell seems to recall the past, and reinforce it by his intense imagination. The inspiration behind his poetry is guided by his reflections, memory and remembrance of things past. Wordsworth remarks that poetry is “emotions recollected in tranquility”. Locke and Hume tell us that knowledge is the fruit of experience and reflection. Memory is “the great luminary of the mind” (George Campbell, The Philosophy of Rhetoric). The fact is that Newell as a poet often tends to retrieve from the ideas and the archives of his personal history stored in his mind.

Marianne Moore aptly remarks: “Poetry is a phase of life. If one is afraid of it, the situation is irremediable.” Newell’s keen mind, artistic sense, and his studies of mood and impulse show that he is not “afraid” of poetry. Poetry seems to be Newell’s safest guide in life. The sense and joy of his life is to be a poet, because it satisfies his craving for beauty and passion. In the poem “2nd American Civil War” he speaks with a powerful voice:

2018 till, to be decided
Yes, you heard me right
The 2nd American Civil War
Because we did not heed.
History’s lessons
If only we could have seen the signs
The ones history should show
We could have heeded the message
Now we could be living in peace
Now it’s too late (10)

The poem Carnival reveals that Newell is a daring adventurer and an intrepid fighter for the cause of poetry:

Hearing the flowers
Smelling the music
Dancing to a new day
Seeing the roughness
Touching the beauty
Dancing to a new day (34)

Newell’s poem Clouds opens with a lyrical intensity proving that he is a master singer of contemporary poetry, the poet favorite above all other poets, and the only proper word to describe his nature poetry is divine:

Pillow-like, massive
White, or shades of grey
Floating, wafting,
Across a bright blue sky
A harbinger of sorts
Of peace, or storm
So much a mystery
You forever change
Teaching us a lesson
In negotiation and survival
Windy Wind (29)

Some of the poems included in this book are miraculous. Their beauty does not depend on the subject alone. They reveal a characteristic gift of expression. The poems are full of intense experience. The truth is that in these poems there is something infinitely beautiful in the spontaneous outburst of inspiration, which breaks out as Newell is composing. Newell’s depths and heights of inner feeling are unsurpassable. In all these poems, we find his gifted poetic craftsmanship. An exquisite variety of glistening images will certainly attract the reader’s eye. Newell shows beauty of style blended with profundity of thought. “Conduits to Heart & Soul” confirms the fact that D Everett Newell is undoubtedly one of the greatest contemporary poets.

The book also features poems of Doug Hodges. Nearly all poems of Doug throw a glistening image of love before the reader’s eye. His poems of nature are sharply visualized. No doubt, Hodges traverses a vast range of emotion and experience in his immortal poems about the world of nature. The feelings he describes are about the magical sun, cool river and how he was resurrected and renewed by water. The essential brilliance of his genius in his intimate knowledge of nature and an attractive concreteness of imagery.

No doubt, D Everett Newell and Doug Hodges are impressive poets of supreme genius.

About the Authors

D Everett Newell
My name is Dennis Everett Newell; I am called in no certain order, Denny, Den, Big D, D Everett, and Dennis. It’s funny, but I can usually tell by how someone calls my name, what time in my life we shared. I guess there are many layers to a life that has now spanned 63 years. My middle name, Everett, has been passed down in our family since the Civil War. My great-great-grandfather’s name was Darius Newell, who named his son Silas Everett Newell, my great-grandfather. He in turn named his son John Everett Newell, my grandfather, who then in turn named my dad, John Everett Newell Jr. My dad named me Dennis Everett Newell, and my son is Corey Everett Newell.

Doug Hodges
This is my second collaborated book with D Everett Newell and it has been a great pleasure and an honor. We have collaborated on a number of poems, stories and songs as well. This will be my 14th book, including our two together, and I can only say that I have been blessed with each and every opportunity to share the words, rhythms, and images God has granted me. My latest book was a poetical autobiography, as much about the decades I was passing through as it was about myself.


More by :  Dr. Santosh Kumar

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