A War Of Love - 2nd Edition, builds on the work of “A War Of Love – Poems by William T. Elliott”. It has 302 pages compared to the first edition's 128 pages. The book is a book of poems expressing the reflections on love and life of a Vietnam Era Veteran after the Vietnam War. The poems are easy to read and fall into three categories, pretty poems, humorous poems and spiritual poems. Below is a review of the first 6 sections of the book by the National Review of Books. I hope this will give you some idea of what the book is like.
reviewed by Mihir Shah
"Some say you need a gun to fight
but no you really don’t
Instead you need your God above
with Him there is your might."
In A War of Love, William T. Elliott seeks a therapeutic reprieve from nagging panic attacks, but instead ends up capturing the essence of the human spirit through a series of timeless, evergreen poems revolving around prayer, philosophy, nature, and animals. With no clear structure or rhythm, A War of Love won’t be mistaken for an Edgar Allen Poe or Sylvia Path piece; however, the stream of conscious style that Elliott exudes in his work has a genuine, heartfelt aura that will likely resonate with individuals of all ages.
Although the poems are split into six sections, including the compilation’s namesake, Elliott’s observations on animals remain consistent throughout. Four consecutive poems, “THE BEAGLE,” “A CAT,” “THE CHICKADEE,” and “THE DEER,” grace the opening of the collection and establish a romanticization of everyday animals. What makes these poems sparkle is the elimination of age appeal. In “A CAT,” young or old can reminisce fondly on the memorable temperament of a cat that, “gives me not a nod at all,” unless it is feeding time. In “THE HAWK AND THE BLACKBIRD,” like in the poems above, there is unique energy in the author’s writing style and pace that matches the animals’ love of life that Elliott successfully portrays. Perhaps the most intriguing poem, appearing in “Additional Poems,” is “THE BUTTERFLY.” In a matter of five quatrains, the poet injects the reader with childhood nostalgia. The poem itself is emblematic of coming of age: Children are in their own cocoon, and when they become adults, they too, like a butterfly, fly away.
Elliott adds a distinctly personal touch to his words by including personal photographs, none more riveting than the picturesque landscapes of Angostura Reservoir and Coldbrook Dam in South Dakota. This ode to nature is in full form in “THE MISSOURI” and “THE SNOWFLAKE,” both poems that use mother nature and imagery of all five senses to reinvigorate the human spirit and help readers remember what it really means to be alive, be it hearing “the waves that wash upon the sand,” or “the feel of flakes past chilly ears.” While Elliott appears to be focused more on evoking a particular emotion from the reader rather than spectacular structure, his poem, “THE SNOWFLAKE,” exhibits an abundance of strong structure, repetition, and simile that allows the readers to conjure the image of snowflakes falling like “cotton tuffs” in the day and “dandruff’s spite” in the night.
As the poetry progresses, so does Elliott’s depth of observation. While the poems on animals and nature dwell on what is apparent to the eye, his thought-provoking philosophy poems touch on many of the world’s “elephant in the room” topics that most try to avoid. Poems like “Loneliness,” “Frustration,” and “Hope,” discuss the struggle man faces throughout life’s journey, while “Pipe Dreams” seeks to keep readers grounded and avoid the sometimes inevitable delusions of grandeur that find ways into one’s thoughts. “DEATH OF A THOUGHT,” however, stands on its own and represents the metaphysical element of time, inciting a debate of whether one should wait for the right moment to act or simply seize the moment.
Directly or indirectly, A War of Love seeks to infuse the reader with life and love that is ultimately actualized with prayer. Poems like “PRAYER,” and “PEACE” are indicative of the hope that prayer brings, but “WAR OF THE SPIRIT” is not only representative of prayer, but, from a subjective point of view, is central to the compilation and renders spirit and love as synonymous.
There are numerous other poems that don’t necessarily fit in a category mentioned above, though that is hardly a knock on their ability to captivate. Both “THE DELICATE KISS” and “HOW TO GET ALONG WITH A WOMAN” share the spirit of intimate love with legendary poems like “When You are Old” by literary behemoth, William Butler Yeats.
A War of Love will fall short for those who are looking for precision with meter, pinpoint use of literary devices, and poetic perfection. For poetry aficionados who are looking for an authentic voice and heartfelt poetry that drives home the meaning of being alive, A War of Love is a pleasurable endeavor.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review