Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Review of Michaela Sefler’s Gems

(2009, Baltimore: Publish America, www.publishamerica.com)

by Joey Madia

The subtitle of Michaela Sefler’s most recent collection (she is the author of almost a dozen books of poems) is “Metaphysical Poetry,” a genre which has long held interest for me.

The poems read as though they were channeled by the author in a somewhat altered state—certainly a place of openness and peace—derived either through meditation or deep breathing, allowing the words to flow like a calm, tranquil river. There are no politically or socially jarring works here. Everything is Prayer. They have titles such as “Yellow Jasper,” “The Magician,” and “Equinox.”

The poems are all set center-spaced, marking a landscape wherein the author takes us on numerous journeys as we follow several nameless questers on their paths of enlightenment.

Referred to only as “he” and “she” or “him” and “her,” these individuals operate on the level of the warrior seeking sartori, bushido, or the knighthood. The tales of the Grail Quest often come to mind. Recurring themes include: archangels, the central pillar, synergy, the Elements and Cardinal Directions, tarot, matter/spirit, the hierophant, royalty, and meditation.

I was somewhat surprised to find the following disclaimer on the copyright page: “PublishAmerica has allowed this work to remain exactly as the author
intended, verbatim, without editorial input” While this is somewhat understandable given the spiritual nature of the poems—the author no doubt feeling as though the slightest change would alter the (depth of) meaning—it was a bit frustrating to find several obvious typos (such as a double comma and a poem entitled “Attainting” that should have been “Attaining”). Having an editor read the manuscript for mechanical errors such as these would have been a benefit.

I also found it odd that there was no author biography. I would have liked to know where her no doubt broad-based and numerous influences and inspirations came from.

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