Review – Howard Smith’s Diary Of A Sinner
The debut work of poet Howard Smith is a well-balanced mixture of rhyming poetry (with a definite rap feel), touching family tributes and a little background on how each piece came to be – in the style of a memoir. The 50 poems included are done so in chronological order, truly giving the feel of travelling with Smith on his journey through life. The style grows as you read and the work, each piece stronger than the last. The rhymes not so forced, the flow settling down to a smooth rhythm.
The themes are pretty consistent throughout: Love, life, school, drinking and music, in particular rap. It’s easy to see where Smith’s inspiration has come from to produce the diary. I often found myself engrossed in the descriptive elements, Smith’s style allowing you to feel like he’s talking just to you, that you are privy to something private, his inner thoughts and struggles.
As with any book of poetry there are always standout sections that grab your attention.
“these words are my gift to you, this is what I give,
My only fear of death is not taking a chance to live”
The perfect end to one man’s struggle against mortality and the loss of loved ones, and how he strives to enjoy life when it seems at times a losing battle.
Standout poems such as Save The last Dance and Hate in Your Heart help to elevate Smith’s work above the mediocrity. Be prepared though to get down and gritty, Smith’s style and laid bare approach don’t hold anything back.
For a book that shows Smith’s drive and determination, it surprisingly ends with one of the collection’s darker poems – before I wake.
“on my knees, praying to the patron saint of lost souls
trying to see clear through the smoke of another bowl
I’m ready to die since I’m scared to live
Just hope that I don’t have that many sins to forgive”
Diary of a Sinner is a story, a journey for one man, having to face some of life’s battles head on, but learning lessons along the way. I’m glad I got the chance to take the journey with him. Proof enough, that with determination and spirit you can get through life’s obstacles.
**** 4 Stars!