theresa rodriguez

Longer Thoughts by Theresa Rodriguez

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By Lynette G. Esposito
In Longer Thoughts, published by Shanti Arts Publishing in Brunswick, Maine, Theresa Rodriguez presents a plethora of poems in varying lengths and forms that address universal themes, famous figures, and clever images.
Carol Smallwood, an interviewer, editor and literary judge, grasps the essence of Longer Thoughts: “While mastering classical poetry, Theresa Rodriguez expresses the deepest emotions; she reigns whether settings are in the past or present leaving us in awe.” 
 I think she is right on.  Rodriguez goes from free verse to villanelle to sonnet with ease and mixes her subjects with astute observation and skill.
On page seventeen in the poem Dance of two Spirits the narrator envisions a relationship both at peace and in conflict with a poem that moves and reads like musical lyrics. The first stanza sets the situation.
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                         As we swirl each other
                         each in and out-of-sync dance
                         with the other
                         our movements both
                        embrace and collide
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The poem proceeds with eleven more stanzas in free verse form revealing how the addresser and addressee are interacting. The stanzas have uneven lines which gives an uneven musical pace.  The three final stanzas provide closure and non closure at the same time which is very clever of Rodriguez.  The ending suggests how love is complex and distrustful but hopeful.  She reveals the universal ups and downs and uncertainty of people in love.
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                      And then we attempt again
                      the dance of two spirits
                      wondering if the meeting
                     will result in cacophony
                     and clash
                     or tunefulness and harmony.
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                    Always on alert,
                    always circling,
                    always fearful,
                   always cautious,
                   coming around again and
                   again,
                 checking, moving, eyeing swaying,
                 on tip-toe and quiet, steady breath,
                 to circle with you again in a questionable dance.
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On page twenty-eight, Rodriguez writes an ode to Johann Sebastian Bach and his music.  I touch the pages of your music, the poem begins.  In five stanzas the narrator praises Bach and how his music has affected her. She notes in stanza three So truly blessed, to know the forms In which you wrote.  The poem projects a sincere voice of appreciation and a deep knowledge of Bach’s music.  She closes this five- stanza poem with:
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                  And so I feel a part of you my own;
                  A touch of soul-mate, friend, the great Sebastian.
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She chooses a well-known and revered musician and skillfully makes it personal.
On a more common subject, Rodriguez addresses Insomnia on page thirty-eight.
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                   In this sleepless state of night
                   relief escapes me.  How I yearn to find
                   a rest that does not come.  Within my mind
                  are waking thoughts I have to fight.
In this poem, Rodriguez presents a situation that many go through in fighting to find sleep but must be awake during the day after a sleepless night.  The poem is clear and the images suggestive of that restless struggle to shut the mind down.
The tome is forty-five pages of poetic pleasure of introspection and reflection. It is good for a quiet read in a comfortable chair.
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Longer Thoughts is available from Shanti Arts — Nature, Art, Spirit
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Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University, Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.
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