Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Book Review: "Cordell's Poems of Spiritual Inspiration" (Mack "Cordell" Moore)

Poetry chapbooks don't get much attention these days simply because much poetry doesn't get a lot of attention anymore, unless you're in a literature class or an MFA program.

Nonetheless, chapbooks continue to be published, and poetry is as valid and legitimate a means of communication as are fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting.

Author Mack "Cordell" Moore wrote and compiled his recent chapbook, Cordell's Poems of Spiritual Inspiration, published just this year in its second edition. Its heartfelt dedication indicates the intended audience and purpose for the work: to reach believers in Christ and to touch those who do not believe.

Twenty-four pieces --- all free-form, some with rhymes --- come together to send a Biblically sound, if pedantic, message about the love of God for His people, the fallen nature of humankind, the attributes of God, temptation, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, life in a fallen world, peace, stress, salvation, heaven, and much more.

I will say with absolute assurance that I believe Moore writes from his heart and from his Scriptural understanding of the Bible and the God magnified in its pages. His pieces are consistent and sound, and even include Scripture verses and references.

If I had one wish to improve the impact and outreach of this chapbook, it would be for the pieces to be more poem-like and less sermon-like.

My issue is not with the content of the chapbook; it's with the readability of what's marketed as poetry when it doesn't read like poetry. Rhymes at the ends of lines don't equal poetry. The message is clear, but I think a different genre --- perhaps creative nonfiction, or essays --- might have made the impact even more direct.

Some of the pieces feel repetitive and dry, without a lot of approachable content for readers. Some of the pieces seem to wander without clear direction. A close editorial read prior to publication would likely have cleared up errors in consistency, focus, form, diction, and style.

I would also add a caution to those who don't believe in Christ, who don't identify as Christians, that the chapbook owes its entire perspective to someone who is familiar with God, the Bible, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and all the related ins and outs of the faith. The tones of some of the pieces come across as condescending, or even lecturing, which may be offensive to some people.

The message is present. The means of delivery would have benefited from extra work.

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Title: Cordell's Poems of Spiritual Inspiration
Author: Mack "Cordell" Moore
Edition: 2nd
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this chapbook free from the author in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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