Time Passes Differently Here

...Through Verse and Rhyme

Poetry - Inspirational
70 Pages
Reviewed on 10/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Vivian was born in Ghana to Nigerian parents and grew up in Ethiopia. After a short stint in Nigeria, she moved to the United Kingdom to study dentistry at The University of Manchester.
Vivian first picked up her pen in September 2016 and hasn't been able to put it down since.

Also the owner and designer of her blog; www.smellthecoffeeweb.com, Vivian publishes poems, short stories, and articles on past and current events. and guest-blogs on various platforms.
The events of 2020 inspired this collection.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Using free and narrative verse, Vivian Zems’ chapbook, Time Passes Differently Here is a collection of 2020 musings: of lockdown days, grief, sorrow, nostalgic memories, what is life and time. The first line of the first poem caught me and wrapped me in its hypnotic bundle of possibilities: “Poems are cities of inspired words”. And there’s more, but this first line certainly sums things up more than adequately. Why? Because one would assume inspiration leads to poetic creativity. And, it’s through poetry that one can marvel at the multiple meanings of every word carefully chosen by the poet, the artist of words.

The poet digs deeply into the meaning of life with particular reference to the year everyone wishes never happened with profound advice, like the poem The Pilgrim Poet’s Progress: “On the way to purpose/ is a road paved with plans/ with potholes of mistakes/ and puddles of complication.” There’s more, but these four short lines are deep with meaning. And the poem Without Words brings the deep meanings of Scripture into play: “Was it not The Word that created the world?/ But for words, our world would/ be as silent as the grave/ and darkness would still/ hover over the deep/ where the nights are not dark enough.” Powerful thoughts to ponder.

Vivian Zems writes of the troubling times of 2020: the pandemic, the lockdown, the violence of Black Lives Matter that followed the death of Georg Floyd. And she writes about life. Her concluding poem simply titled 2020 speaks of the pain that engulfed the world and how it can be narrowed down to elements of time: “The year 2020 will be remembered as/ the beginning/ the end/ the turning point/ the arrow that pierced/ hope reborn/ beauty for ashes/ and not simply/ as the year of fires and screams.” I hope she’s right. The year 2020 will never be forgotten by those who survive it and this powerful collection of poems provides deep insight into what has happened and how we reacted to it all.

Jacob R LaMar

Time Passes Differently Here is a 70-page collection of poetry by author/songwriter Vivian Zems. Written in free verse, there is not a regular rhyme scheme and the rhythm differs greatly from poem to poem. Intended to stimulate thoughts about life, death, passion, and diversity, this book largely accomplishes its goal through its raw vulnerability and rich use of figurative language. In this book, Zems pours out her heart often and shows just how deeply her river of thoughts can flow. As a reader, it feels a bit like drowning at times and the words are flowing over your head but on those rare occasions where you are able to drink them in, you realize just how refreshing this book can be.

Evaluating this work, I would be remiss not to mention the first thing prospective readers would be privy to which is the wonderful and eye-pleasing front cover. This is the first of many wins for this book and maybe the most important of all because, contrary to popular belief, books are judged by their cover more often than not. Aside from the cover, I absolutely enjoyed the thought-provoking nature of Time Passes Differently Here, but then again, I love multilayered passages that force me to contemplate deeper issues in life. My favorite passage was actually the very first one titled A Poem’s Right, which speaks on the nature of poetry. Vivian Zems should take a well-deserved pat-on-the-back for this collection and I wish the author all the luck in the world getting it into the hands of readers. If that happens, Time Passes Differently Here is bound to sell itself.

Erin Nicole Cochran

Vivian Zems' Time Passes Differently Here is a thought-provoking emotional journey told through poetry. Her voice commands the type of authority that most writers only wish that they could someday obtain. Zems' ability to translate the world around her into prose is a true gift that she shares with us in this earnest and modern-day perspective collection. If I were to pick a handful of her poems that spoke to me the most, they would be as follows: The Journey of Ink, Stories On The Move, Dad’s House, and Couch Potatoes on Lockdown. An excerpt from Couch Potatoes on Lockdown created this intriguing image at the forefront of my mind: “And discovering faith in the midst of anguish/ …sometimes stopping/ to dig joy out of graves.” This passage sends an enjoyable chill of foreboding throughout my entire body.

Time Passes Differently Here by Vivian Zems brings together anguish and hope into the same room and wants the two to co-exist. Zems' poetry collection embodies 2020 with all its imperfections and the hard roads behind it and the ones that are in front of it. Time Passes Differently Here raises its fists and rails against the injustice and the disparity that plague the world today, waiting for the world to take notice of what has become of it. Waiting for brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, family, and neighbors to see each other for the first time, to see hope, warmth, and love instead of unease, strife, and hate. Time Passes Differently Here is 2020.

Jamie Michele

Time Passes Differently Here... Through Verse and Rhyme by Vivian Zems is a compilation of poetry written to reflect on the convolution of the year 2020. Zems traverses the many feelings and experiences of a time unlike any other and weaves through the banal minutiae and the horrifying loss through sixty pieces of work. “The year 2020 was the year grief wrapped itself around our bones and tightened its grip...” From In Loving Memory where the overwhelming death toll unites the living and the dead at the final intersection of soil, to Still Homeless, where the most vulnerable question, the purpose of being, is swept away in the guise of protection—but for who? Social injustice is addressed with the heartbreaking R.I.P. George Floyd, but the whisper of hope and a new day encourages in The Way Back.

If there is something to at least be said of the year of the Coronavirus pandemic, when everything halted to a stop, it provided the time for creativity whether it was wanted or not. Vivian Zems captures a year of wonder in the pages of Time Passes Differently Here, with each poem in her anthology varying within free verse but still wholly connected. My favorite poem was The Weaponized Mind which struck me as deeply personal, where the outlet for pent-up brilliance is forced into restraint except for the intermittent acts of a keyboard warrior, fragile not like a flower, but like a bomb. It is no coincidence that Zems, with her own heightened degree of intellect, would pen an ode that a man would never understand but from a woman, it's practically mutinous. The work is powerful and fantastic and I'm so grateful to have read it.

Sarah Stuart

Time Passes Differently Here... Through Verse and Rhyme has been aptly titled by Vivian Zems. In the main, the poems are freestyle – very freestyle in that the position on the page is used for emphasis, as in A Weaponised Mind. Rhyme doesn’t mean freestyle verse is abandoned; it takes the reader unaware. Blind Faith includes bracketed lines thus – (in the face of a storm) and (as though the norm). Dare you think of passion? It might be the passion of love or of hate that leads to racism, terrorism, and war. Read Keep Her Breathing, the birth of truth; you cannot fail to be moved, but how? To tears or anger? Love is declared in If I Could.

“Poems are cities of inspired words A poem understands that its words can and will be used against it in a court of law” is a quote from A Poem’s Right, the first of chocolate box of delights. It is not, however, a selection to be tasted casually. The first poem that stopped me in my tracks was I’m Listening, which asks “do your thoughts require a leash”. Nothing challenging is omitted, even Covid19 Couch Potatoes on Lockdown. A Roaring World talks of the shadow of the valley of death. Kismet spoke to my heart – “And time passes so differently here ….it beckons to the future ….and veils the past ……a future … a hope … a kismet to last”. Vivian Zems offers poetry lovers an unmissable treasure in Time Passes Differently Here.