Book Review

James Babbs, disturbing the light, Interior Noise Press, 2013

by R.A. Davis

It was hard to find things I truly liked in Disturbing the Lightby James Babbs, though I did find a gem in 'Black Spiral Notebook' where I was reminded of my own poems for what's in my head and what's in my journal:

there are several failed plans
for world domination
an elaborate murder plot
lists of things to do
I will never have any use for
recipes for foods
no one will ever eat
descriptions of my dream
to help me remember
long rants against authority
drawings of strange things
I wish really existed
a love poem
for anyone who cares
your name
over and over again

And it is through this poem that I find a camaraderie with Mr. Babbs (and poets I have yet to meet) because I think we all have those notebooks filled with words, thoughts, dreams, and wishes. It is also through 'Black Spiral Notebook' that I experience the joy of the author's writing because it is one of the few poems not filled with alcohol-infused confessions about love that done him wrong.

Another jewel of a poem was 'The Sound of His Voice' that reminded me of my grandfather when I realized, just as the author, that:

it's gone now and
I can never get it back
the sound of his voice
when he called my name...
the sound of his voice
when he answered the phone and
I don't remember it
and all I have are...photographs...
and...moments frozen in time...

How heart-wrenching is it to want so bad to remember something as simple as the sound of someone's voice when the only thing you have left of your loved one is photographs and mementos.

While I did find individual poems that I liked, overall, I found this book depressing, filled with poems about drinking and loss.

R.A. Davis owns and operates Altered Words, offering freelance editing, proofreading, and typing services. In addition to her business ventures, Ramona has facilitated poetry writing workshops through the DC Public Library for youth in underprivileged communities, holds a Certificate in Advancing Youth Development, and has owned an after school program to benefit youth in at risk areas of Baltimore, MD. She has also done volunteer editing for a variety of authors and owns an organization (Chained With Love) that donates handmade, crocheted scarves to homeless women and their families in the Dane County area of Wisconsin.