Poems of Life, Love, and the Meaning of Meaning by Wren


Poems of Life, Love, and the Meaning of Meaning 
Year of the Book Press, 2018

3 Stars


Rhyming poetry is very difficult to read properly in contemporary times. Too often it is dismissed as simple or amateurish given literary poetry whether academic or contemporary is more focused on formal innovation and content. However, there will always be an audience for earnest, inspirational verse & that is exactly what Wren provides readers.

Broke up into three section (Life, Love, and The Meaning of Meaning), these poems are typically no more than a page long with each verse made of rhyming quatrains. There are two ways to enter Wren’s poetry. The first is through its content, and the second is through his style. Regarding the first, nearly every poem revolves around some kind of melancholy but it would be erroneous to say the poems are maudlin. Rather, Wren writes a sort of meditative verse often beginning with a quasi-question initiating an earnest self-evaluation. We see this in a poem early in the collection, ‘Pause & Rewind’:

I sometimes wonder
if I’m already dead
and now reviewing
what was in my head

what I did
and what I said
or didn’t do
in the life I led

where I was weak
and when I was strong
how I was right
and why I was wrong

I learned a lot
in hindsight it’s true
now looking back
as I review

I should have kept
a peaceful mind
and not tried to get
and not tried to find

anything except
being aligned
with love and life
and being kind

love in each moment
was in lesson in time
now going forward
I’ll pause and rewind

There is an element of contemporary stoicism to Wren’s poetry. Meditative poetry is often either hyper-personal or so broad in scope to be useless for most readers. Wren is generally able to thread the needle with his poems. One of the ways he does so is through this particular style.


The formal element of Wren’s poetry is deceptively simple. Light verse or inspirational poetry is too often dismissed because its form is seen as too easy. Yet, when you read a lyric whose rhyme scheme sings you from line to line with ease, there is attention to detail and polish having gone into crafting it as such. Lyrical, light verse gives the illusion of simplicity. 

There are times when the rhyme scheme is stretched relying on the reader to make allowances. Usually this is a dangerous maneuver for a poet because it invites a reader or listener to switch off. Also, there are numerous times when Wren’s rhyming veers too far into sing-song verse as in ‘Your Voice’:

Yours is the voice
I want to hear
in my ear

make the sound
of love surround
around the quiet
two heartbeats pound

a rhythm and tone
words never alone 
your voice that captures
life’s fleeting raptures

Yet, overall, the poetry in Poems of Life, Love, and The Meaning of Meaning succeed in immediately conveying their meaning through formal accessibility, plain language, and sincere tone. These are definitely a collection of poems meant for casual readers of poetry rather than academic or contemporary literary poets.

Wren’s poetry is light verse but it has its own voice and style, which many casual readers of poetry will enjoy.



About the Author


Wren is the pen-name for Paul Gorman, an American poet and architect. His architectural career is primarily in the design of new commercial construction- striving to create buildings that are functional and efficient, in context and aesthetics. One of his personal interests is in creating living spaces that are open and flowing while being accessible and healing. Paul approaches his writing with the same design principles, crafting through prose a sense of wholeness that supports and integrates the individual with their environment, both internal and external.

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