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Compositions of the Dead Playing Flutes by Barbara Ellen Sorensen

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A collection of poetry that deeply affects the heart and mind of the reader, Compositions of the Dead Playing Flutes, written by Babara Ellen Sorensen is a searing testament to what it means to struggle. Exploring themes of loss, solitude, relationships, spirit, and the body itself, the poet intertwines elements of nature into her work to offer up words that titillate the senses. Split into three sections entitled ‘Wind, Water & Medicine,’ ‘Wings, Creatures & Other Tales,’ and ‘Bouquets, Feasts & Flutes,’ Sorensen displays her talent through the fifty-seven poems that are included here. A recurrent theme throughout her work is the force of nature and how it affects the human condition, especially in regard to those individuals the poet knows personally, like her beloved family members. Dedicated to the life of her son, the loss of a child, which is such a tragic experience to go through, is chronicled here in lyrics that ring deep and true.

Motherhood is a topic that can be viewed from all angles, as there have been billions of mothers over the course of time, all of them having a similar, yet unique experience in their motherhood. In her collection, Sorensen is able to explain what it feels like to be a mother, and even more profound, what it feels like to be a mother who has lost a son. Through the seasons that pass, and the elements of the Earth that are constantly evolving and changing, so are the words that the poet has constructed so elegantly on the page. The pieces presented here are all distinct, yet the thematic similarities they share pull the reader along with ease, as their narratives continue and then linger on. Through different poetic forms, all of which retain a consistent heartbeat, Barbara Ellen Sorensen has succeeded with this strong collection.

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