BOOK REVIEW – Signs of Life: A Memoir in Poems

A diverse collection of poetry, thought-provoking and breathtaking, inspirational, and altogether wonderful, Knowles’ memoir is moving, hustling the reader through memories and philosophies that had me laughing at times and weeping at others. Engaging, unexpectedly page-turning for long-time lovers of poetry, and eye-opening to those discovering poetry for the first time, these verses, sometimes eloquent and elusive, sometimes brutally honest and abrasive, will draw you into the ancient art of poetry and leave you hungry for more. The author leads the audience, expertly, through a journey simultaneously spiritual and rational. Like a depthless ocean of free-thought, it tossed me back and forth, presenting views on both faith and logic, but it never fails in thoroughness, sincerity, or heart. The poet’s captivating imagery, descriptions of nature, metaphorical prowess, and artful rhyme schemes are a treat for anyone with an appreciation of literary devices. To those who merely dabble, occasionally, in poetry, this is a delightful read, a perfect escape for anyone who wants to ponder life’s realities without managing their own. It is an intimate self-examination. Often romantic and heartwarming, pieces such as Rede, Morning Light, and Married to You reveal the subtle truths of real love, while others like Because of You, On a Cold November Day, and I Remember You provide poignant memories and warm musings on the meaning of family and the generous nature of motherhood. Knowles is and does it all: a free spirit and a dedicated mentor, a mother and a child, a lover and a warrior battling the rawest hardships known to the human heart. For me, many of the edgier pieces, such as Ashes, Rebellious by Nature, and Safe were found to be excellent nourishment in the face of life’s frustrations. This collection is relatable in its advocating for independence coupled with its dismay at a life of self-inflicted isolation, speaking easily of how life transforms gradually. Knowles reflects on the human condition and the role of both human relationships and the relationship with self in her slice of life verses, such as Book Tribe, Snow Day, Apprentice, and Little Dog. Between these pages, clumsy beginnings exist beside true gems like Endless Night and triumphs of visual poetry such as Entropy, Tomb, And Peaceful Harbor. In each passages, I discovered descriptions of a truly unique, subtly desperate life, underlying with unprecedented adventure. The life of a Bohemian atheist. She is wild, yet wise, and her words are both fantastic and contemplative, with a flair for rebellion and an appetite for knowledge. Above all, through the roller coaster emotions, Signs of Life is uplifting and positive, constantly looking back, but never ceasing to move forward. Truly, there is something in this book for everyone.

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