By: Sherrill S. Cannon
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing
Publication Date: November 2017
Reviewed by: Anita Lock
Review Date: January 12, 2018
Award-winning author Sherrill Cannon has a knack for turning feelings into words in her latest book of poems on love and loss.
Cannon’s newest has been a long time in the making. A collection of one hundred plus poems geared for a wide range of ages (middle school on) who have experienced the joys and sorrows associated with love, Cannon’s writing reflects many, many years of creativity that didn’t just pile up in notebooks. According to her website, the former teacher applied her gift of wordsmithing to help others: "As a teacher, I used poetry to help counsel many troubled teens and friends, and have continued this pattern throughout the years."
Now in book form, and appropriately divided into three poignant sections, Cannon invites readers to embrace her words of wisdom through this marvelous journey called life.
Subtitled Poems of Love and Loss (Feelings Into Words), Cannon goes a step further by adding Coin Toss? in her Table of Contents. Each carefully weighed section—Heads...Of Love and Friendship; Spinning—Of Related Emotions; and Tails...of Heartache and Anguish—begins to make sense...one poem at a time.
Keeping largely but not exclusively to first-person narrative, her first section centers on light issues, such as friends, lovers, parent and child relationships, God, music, and even the beloved Teddy Bear. But as she moves on to sections two and three, the timbre slowly darkens into areas of loss, such as loved ones moving away and death.
Cannon’s assortment of mellifluous poetry, many sprinkled with puns, is replete with free verse, blank verse, couplets, simple 4-line rhymes, alternating rhymes, quatrains, haiku, and concrete poems, just to name a few. Amid the bulk of Cannon’s work, though, are sonnets.
While the various poetic forms in A Penny for Your Thoughts do admirably to translate “feelings into words,” Cannon capitalizes upon her love theme by using a potent structure to verbalize this amorous mien: the Shakespearean sonnet.
Audiences familiar with The Bard’s works will immediately recognize how Cannon effectively captures the varied expressions of this commanding yet fickled four-letter word that is known as “love.” Perfect examples of the Shakespearean sonnet include “Music,” “Sonnet to Friendship,” and “The Road.”
“Stop and hear the music in your life— A melody for you to sing along; For it will soothe your heart and ease your strife. If you would only listen to its song...”
Second to the Shakespearean sonnet usage is the Petrarchan. Examples include “A Memory,” “Tentative,” and “The Transplant.”
“It really wasn’t very long ago, My plant was set into this strange new ground Where everything was different. But it found That even in new sunlight, it could grow...”
There is no vulgarity. Every word spoken is straightforward, intentional, and from the heart. If the reader follows judiciously, he/she will discover that the poems provide plenty to ruminate on and are very therapeutic for those who have unresolved conflict.
Quill says: A Penny for Your Thoughts is so much more than another compilation of poems; it is indeed a book of healing.
For more information on A Penny for Your Thoughts, please visit the publisher's website at: www.sbpra.com/sherrillscannon