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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Strands of Struggle by Brenda Christie is a compilation of the author's original poetry. Christie's prolificacy is solidified with over fifty individual pieces and cover as wide a variety of topics as they do length and tone. The work is primarily in free form with intentional nods toward creative structure, such as the jolting punctuation employed in the aptly named "Short Life," and the extremely narrow elongation of an elegy describing a gaunt young woman in "Thin." Pain is a common theme but so too is hope, even when it is so subtly woven through that a second read was necessary to catch it.
Strands of Struggle is a body of work that requires a bit of earnestness to get through mostly because of its extreme sombreness but is worth the effort for a few different reasons. Brenda Christie's perspective is modern and relevant in a way that classic poetry often misses, and it is incredibly important that each generation has its own voice. "Skunk Ticks" is a standout in this regard, as is "Emoji of Love," both ironic in the personification of a newer, deeply impersonal reality. "Bursting Minds of Panic" has the point of view of a juvenile and, as embarrassing as it is to admit this, I totally did not get it. I had an old person “hmph” moment. Probably the same confusion my teenaged daughter has when we went to pre-Covid plays, an interesting thought given that the pandemic also takes the stage in Christie's collection. See? A little bit of everything for everybody. Recommended.