Full of love, light, and hope; Raising Praises by Lesli Johnson reads like a creative companion to be read alongside the Bible. This collection is for adults and children alike, as the pieces are shorter reads, like breathers to be taken between dense bible verses.
These poems are quatrain-form, primarily, containing four-line stanzas, often with various rhyme schemes, mostly following an ABCB, bounded or ballad quatrain, has short lines. Sometimes carries biblical-like Shakespearean English with words like “ne’er” and “Twas”, yet is held with simple diction. This collection uses a variety of font styles as well, sometimes evocative of Medieval Bible renderings, such as the Wenceslas Bible, which is visually pleasing. The poem “Heaven Town” does not differ by content, but differs in rhyme scheme, switching to an AABB formal couplet scheme. All the poems feel like they could be sung as hymns.
Similar to hymns, poems like “Village in the Valley” are reminiscent of parables and evokes the many valleys of biblical stories. Long-lined poem “More than Gold” still rhymes, has more of a parable structure, longer lines. Themes of boundless love, friendship, light, temptation and refusal, wise/knowledge, eternal life are lifted through these poems. An interpretation of Bible-esque mantras appear throughout as well, such as “Though I’m not perfect,/ I’m being perfected” (“Eternal Joy”).
Johnson often manifests the story of the life of Jesus, “He faced much temptation,/ the same as all men/ and fought hard and conquered/. He never gave in” (“He Made Us to Love Us”). The focus is not only biblical, there are notions of the macro and micro, as displayed in “Embracing the Stars”, and contains summaries and reflection on creation stories, the concept of alpha and omega dichotomy. This short book of praises and contemplations will most be enjoyed by those who are familiar with major stories from the Bible.
Multiple higher education degrees in literature/creative writing/poetics. Current editor and poetry book reviewer for online literary press, Harbor Review. Enneagram Type Eight (The Challenger), able to promote and sway reader opinion with the proper use of high and low diction.