Book Reviews

Faith-based poetry that aims to inspire.
The word “triumph” can signify both the act of obtaining a victory and the victory itself. These 37 poems and four prose pieces that comprise this book each aim to tap into the duality of the title’s meaning, offering the reader snapshots of success—or the ways in which to obtain it. In clear, unadorned language and simple imagery, the poems reassure the reader that life’s struggles and difficulties will not last forever: the thorn-covered path will eventually clear, as it does in “False Premise,” and the darkness will end with a new light, as in “The Raven Banished.” These hope-laden poems encourage the reader to escape the chaos and violence of the modern world by seeking emotional and spiritual sustenance. For Bell, this nourishment and the calm that accompanies it can only come from faith in God: “My will and mine alone had caused my pain; / Apart from God, I sought for peace in vain.” As a result what transpires is a collection filled with poems depicting domestic refuge (“The Dream”), springtime renewal (“Spring At Last,” “Fragrance”) and recapitulations of the New Testament stories of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection (“It Is Finished,” “Different,” “Judas” and “Rejoice”). Less successful are the four short prose pieces that close the collection, primarily due to their heavy-handed retelling of the biblical tales of Joseph, Pilate and the prodigal son. While this collection offers very little that is new or daring in terms of language and form—limiting itself to a comfort zone of free verse, rhyming couplets and haiku—it does tap into universal questions about our existence. Many may find the heavy Christian message in this volume limiting but readers of a similar mindset to Bell’s may discover that this book sparks spiritual contemplation and personal reflection.
A collection with admirable intent.

— Kirkus Reviews, Kirkus Discoveries