#NewBook: In the Shadow of Rainbows by Selma Martin @SelmaWrites #Poetry #BookReview
Hi everyone! Today, it gives me great pleasure to host author and longtime online friend, Selma Martin, who has released her debut book of poetry! I’ll let you meet Selma and hear all about her fab new book >>>
Hi everyone, Selma here! It’s such a pleasure to visit with you all today. [It’s so lovely to have you over to visit!]
Harmony and friends, I waited almost my whole life for this moment, and once I found enough courage, I worked on it for months, and earlier, when I sent out my June newsletter to my dear subscribers, my fingers took over and wrote:
“Pen pal, I assign you the custodian of my secret
If I were to expire tomorrow
I want you to tell the world that this girl is on fire!”
Well, that’s just how this ordinary woman feels right now. But I tell you, this fire is unwieldy; not going in the direction I want it to go. (In fact, I am at a loss on how to proceed … shhh, don’t tell anyone).
Still, I peppered my initial words by adding: I’ll confide in you, something I’ve been keeping under wraps for around nine months. Now, please don’t think me vain (“vainglorious, I’m just a little euphorious” ~Ogden Nash); if I die tomorrow, the last nine months will go down with me as the best nine months of my writing life.
Sure, I’ve had euphoric moments like this on and off while I explored novel writing and the month-long elation of National Poetry Writing Month, but nothing that amounts to nine consecutive months. So much so that, as far as I’m concerned, I have accomplished what I set out to do. And the fact that this intense feeling of excitement, happiness, and triumph has prevailed for so long tells me that I’m in the right place right now. [Every fellow writer here can relate to this, Selma! Welcome to the club 😁]
“I know there is no straight road,
no straight road in this world.
Only a giant labyrinth of
~ Federico Garcia Lorca
Nine months of writing poetry with a purpose bigger than myself—I cannot wait to share it with you! We are about to give birth to a book of poetry.
Whether or not my poems are top-notch is yet to be seen by a discerning public audience. But my editor seems to like them—not superlative, but okay. Hehe. And her suggestions and edits are making me look better than I am. Wait and see! *wink* [Folks, you can see my glowing review at the bottom of Selma’s post! 🥳]
Along with the revelation of this secret, I assign you the custodian of my fate. I entrust you with the words that have ripened inside me and burst me into bloom—the words I want to send gliding in hopes that you, too, burst into bloom.
Like a Shaman, I close my eyes
and reach out to you
across the miles
hoping you hold my hand.
And now, here I am with you, dear Harmony and friends, sharing with an audience far greater than my puny newsletter list that has been the greatest joy I tap into once monthly.
Universal Purchase Link: a-fwd.com/asin=B0CB5PLMB6
And what is it I’ve accomplished and set out to do?
I assembled all the little poems that have lived within me for so long, put them side by side where they can interact with each other, and soon, with their new wings, they will soar to places they have never been before. This collection is a great accomplishment for someone who hoards memories, loves shadows, and has written a collection of songs of presence based on the shadows of memories (she sees). Thanks for sharing my words.
— An extract (excerpt) from one of the poems in In the Shadow of Rainbows:
Patched up here and there with gold alloy to
preserve malleability, Mom’s bracelet keeps the markers.
She wore that bracelet everywhere, and I
cannot remember a time when it didn’t dangle on her wrist.
To the chagrin of the others, who wished
it melted and reformed, I inherited the artifact.
What kind of abrupt movement cut through the
heavy-duty set hinges to become unchained from its source?
If gold is so precious, why does it break?
And what makes one want to reform it to erase the markers?
I inhale the gold band and slide my hand
in to sense what Mom suffered. I pretend it’s her wrist I kiss.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In this dazzling debut poetry collection of over 60 carefully selected poems, author Selma Martin points the way to the beauty in the everyday, the shadow of the rainbow, and the silver lining at the edge of every cloud.
Favouring lyrical forms, and revelling in rhymes and musical language, the individual poems in this collection harmonise together in symphonic splendour to form an enlightening and delightful whole.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Selma Martin is a retired English teacher with 20 years of teaching children ESL. She believes in people’s goodness and in finding balance in simple living. She lives in Japan with her husband.
Selma once self-published a short story: In 2017, Selma enrolled in her first short story writing competition with a welcoming online community of writers. She practiced earnestly there and had the honor of mingling with seasoned Writers and newcomers like herself.
In 2018, she participated in a networking course–offered by that online community–whose final lesson was to publish a story on Amazon. After many failed attempts, she completed the course and, with “a lot of help” from her new friends, self-published her short story, “Wanted: Husband/Handyman,” in 2019.
Later, collaborating with her peers, she published “Wanted: Husband/Handyman” (again) in Once Upon A Story: A Short Fiction Anthology.
Selma became engrossed with poetry in 2021 when, looking for ways to curb her wordy sentences, someone suggested she try poetry. It was love at first sight. She joined her first Tanka Tuesday with Colleen Chesebro and got her feet wet with her first National Poetry Writing Month. She has participated in NaPoWriMo for three years in a row.
Selma feels she has arrived at her first major crossroad and hopes to continue galumphing in poetry for a long time to come.
You can find Selma on:
And/Or join her once-a-month PenPal newsletter.
Now you’ve heard all about these poems and their origins from Selma, here’s my review of this wonderful debut collection …
A wonderful debut collection of Soul-felt poetry.
Many thanks to the author for a free ARC PDF of this book.
At the end of the author’s note on what she wants her poems to do, poet Selma Martin introduces us to the theme with a beautiful and moving poem, which I feel sets the tone for the rest of the book perfectly …
‘the wind disguised from me | the cry of the river | you won’t hear it either | unless you climb the bank | the poem disguised itself from me | it hid in burrows | and places I wouldn’t go looking: | inside shadows, whispers and echoes | until one day I saw rainbows on my eyelashes | — come with me, I’ll help you find your poem…’
Also from the introduction, I love this line:
‘… through wet eyelashes and learning to stand under the sun just so, I marveled at the rainbows that settled on my watery eyes.’
Below are some of my favourite poems and extracts from those poetic lines …
From Confess: ‘Don’t look at me that way, like a blank white page waiting, imploring I succumb and confess.’
From Kindled Echoes: ‘Richest are the echoes | of whispers at half-light | which make for good bedfellows | that in the dark, ignite.’
From Poetry: ‘… for in nature, the poet exists’
I’d love to share more of these gems, but you’ll have to read it for yourself as I’ll end up quoting most of the book if I don’t stop here!
In addition to the pull quotes, I especially loved the poems … You Know Her, The Sea, Could it Be?, Failure, Ebb and Flow. Again, I could go on and on.
As you may have guessed, In the Shadow of Rainbows by Selma Martin—a debut collection of poetry at that—gets 5 rainbow stars from me. If you love inspirational poetry which takes a real look at life, you’ll love this book. You can also find more of Selma’s poetry on her website: selmamartin.com
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book
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