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Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

‘Be Right Back’ Isn’t Your Average Book of Poetry – Here’s Why

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Be Right Back – The Travelogues of a Wandering Mind

By Jeffrey Greenmun, 2023

Genre: Non-Fiction, Poetry (Don’t freak out, okay? More on that in a min.)

Pages: 174

Note: We received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, okay. Quiet down in the back. Especially those of you who want to jump up and run screaming from the room the minute you hear the word “poetry.”

You know who you are.

So just hang on a min, okay? Cuz if poetry isn’t your cuppa, give Jeffrey Greenmun’s Be Right Back – The Travelogues of a Wandering Mind a chance. Articulate and eloquent, this delicious blend of poetry and biography may change your mind. Here’s the 4-1-1:

The 4-1-1

Heartfelt and intense, Be Right Back is a “travelogue” look at one man’s life journey and some of the bumps, bruises, joys and victories along the way. It’s an engaging and absorbing read.

Diagnoses: Alphabet Soup

The author explains he was recently diagnosed with adult ADD/DHD “with OCD tendencies” as well as “complex PTSD and a host of interloping tagalongs.” He says:

“I am an alphabet soup of dysfunction and have been most of my life.”

Greenmun explain he’s written his biography in order to “face my squatters: my nemeses” – doubt, fear, and promise. And to “overcome a lifetime of reticence.” His goal is to “invite a greater understanding of my lifelong struggle to become a better me.”

It’s quite a ride.

Evocative & Compelling

The verse in this book is evocative and compelling. Coupled with a lavish assortment of photos, pellucid prose covers a wide variety of emotion and contexts. The verse usually features gently rhyming poetry. In some cases, however, the author captures portions of his journey by deploying lyrical prose in paragraph form. An example is I Wash Spoons. Here the author describes his upbringing, family chores, family life, and family values and service.

Additional musings and commentary in paragraph form can be found in the rich and full-flavored, Is Happiness a Choice? Other stand-outs include:

  • Whispering Wakes (“for the Commodore)
  • Why Can’t I Can, In Death Do Us Part
  • Big Sisterie (a decade-by-decade reflection on a sister “blessed with Down Syndrome”)
  • Dog Stick Candle (Been there, done that).
  • One of us laughed out loud reading Knotta Bed-N-Breakfast. (Hi, Mom) 
  • The tenderness in Safe Spot is palpable. So are the courage-soaked pages of this book.

A Deep Dive

This is not your average book of poetry. It’s a deep dive into a wide range of emotion and experience, artfully drawn from the author’s personal life and experiences.

Eclectic & Epic

This eclectic collection of poetry combines an impressive vocabulary with an uncanny ability to pack reams of insight and emotion into a few short phrases. Incidentally, the Epilogue is epic. Don’t miss it!

At roughly two hundred pages, Be Right Back can be read in a morning or an afternoon. But this isn’t the kind of book you skip through merrily or skim at the speed of sound. This is thoughtful and penetrating “road of life” collection that’s meant to be sipped and savored slowly, like a fine wine. It’s worth at least a whole day. In fact, if the mere notion of “poetry” makes you break out in hives, give Be Right Back a chance. It’s contemplative and introspective. It’s different. It’s fresh. It’s definitely worth the time.

Adult readers who enjoy reflective and evocative poetry will appreciate this finely crafted collection of same.

Our Rating: 3.5

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