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I’m going to divulge a little secret, but don’t tell anyone. Poetry has always escaped me. I think it’s because the art and craft of it intimidates me. Poets have an intimate relationship with words. A relationship I know I will never have. The choice of words, the way the words flow and blend, developing and shaping images that you couldn’t see by any other means.
Pink Zinnia by Franklin Abbott is a beautiful example of all these things. His collection, an interesting blend of stories and poems spoke to me in a way few have been able to do. Franklin creates from the heart in every word and phrase. His prose is warm, comforting and yet at times startling in what they expose you to and make you feel.
The collection opens with Burial in Birmingham, a beautiful story about the death of Franklin’s paternal grandmother. Scattered throughout the collection are his thoughts, told in interesting style and prose. From touching stories of his travels, to thoughts of AIDS, politics, faith and love, each one is distinct and separate; yet somehow connected to one another by the experience of one man.
Franklin’s style is simple, and it’s in that simplicity that he can pull you in and make you think of your own life and experiences, and perhaps to feel something once again.
Reviewed by William Holden