Well, it’s not technically a review. I entered Coffee House Memories in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards competition this year.
I did not win.
Part of the contest is the promise of brief commentary from the judge. Here’s what the judge said about Coffee House Memories:
In Coffee House Memories, a book of poetry by Brian J Noggle, we are presented with a tour of the speaker’s mind and heart, a journey that moves from immaturity to maturity to that delicate balance we strike when we look back with fondness or regret on our past selves. The title for this collection seems to this reader to be bland, missing an opportunity to more evocatively cast a tone for the collection to come. The book is broken into sections which helps the reader to navigate through the various themes and ideas that are presented throughout. The poetry here is formal, adhering to set rules and forms, but this does the subject no real service. Form is a useful tool, can be a worthwhile constraint that gives the poem shape and substance while pushing the writer into nuanced phrases and word choice that might not have been available otherwise. Here, however, the form is a kind of lockstep that forces the writer into clunky language and line. The overall design of the book is professional. It features an interior layout that is crisp and clean with text design on each page that is readable and presented soundly. It may seem minor, but getting the interior in order is an important step in getting the reader hooked! Also, the cover image for the book is straightforward and relatable.
Well, it sounds a lot like what Dr. Berry said in my poetry class at the university. I did improve upon my sonnets from that era, though.
And I got really good scores for my book design. That must be a product of years of designing technical documentation or something.
Still, I guess it’s about what I should expect. Maybe some of the lines are clunky, but the book includes some really good poems, too. You could take my word for it, gentle reader, or you could spring $.99 for a Kindle copy and see for yourself.