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Reviewed by Erin Nicole Cochran for Readers' Favorite
A Boy Nonetheless by Robert Denis Holewinski is a collection of poetry that, for me, reads as a continuing memoir. Its starting point brings us to a boy and, by the end, readers come to know a young survivor entering adulthood. What you can expect to find among the pages is a childhood filled with abusive adult “fixtures” that don’t teach, but instead dictate, alienate, and inflict upon a forming mind. You will also find poems that are voiced by varying viewpoints. Threaded through like vines are the physical surroundings, specifically nature, that come through as a salve to the physical treatment.
The voice that falls over the poems has a certain tone that is unsettling, but readers will find themselves entranced. Especially in the beginning, it has a quickness of breath and narration that you might expect from a Stephen King novel. I’d like to compare the nature aspect of this collection to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, which has never been too far from my mind. I am reminded of his journey and time spent in the woods while reading A Boy Nonetheless. The special golden line for me in this entire collection is again small, “They were who they had to be,” taken from the poem “Sometime Leaving Home”. I read this line and it hits “home”, which is what writing should do, because it’s all about connecting. And that is what Robert Denis Holewinski’s A Boy Nonetheless does; it connects, speaks and assures us of the strength we possess in times that are less than golden.