Sunday, March 6, 2022

Review: The Cool and Warmth of Hearts by J.A. Santana


Genre: Poetry Collection


A compilation of love poems.


“Jose is an IT professional by day, author by night; he’s usually humble, insatiably curious about the world; believes in creating a better world, so he delights people with words. He craves experiences, whether it’s traveling, adventurous activities, reading, writing, or having philosophical discussions about the various nuances of life. On the side, he ran a web design business only to find creative writing was his calling and resulted in his first publication, The Cool and Warmth of Hearts, and since has inspired future books in the genres he has a passion in: poetry, supernatural/horror, fantasy, and science fiction. He lives in Massachusetts and when he’s not reading or writing; he kicks back on a weekend night watching a movie or TV show or with loved ones.”


It takes heart to write poetry; it takes discipline to write passably good poetry.

The Cool and Warmth of Hearts displays ample heart from adolescent passion in “A New Form of Being” to the ecstasy of love at first sight in “Lover’s Lane.”

Those two items are from the section “Pining,” containing poems of unrequited love, unfaithful lovers, and insecure lamentation. The book has seven sections including a prologue and an epilogue.

Discipline, however, can be found in none of those sections.

“A Renewed Feeling” has 10 lines of aa, bb rhyme scheme followed by four lines of ab, ab then back to aa, bb followed by no rhyme scheme and ending in four lines of aaaa.

“Love I” is broken into stanzas with lines numbering 6, 8, 11, 5, 6, 5, 7, 3, 3, 3, 6, 6.

A reader of a poet who uses rhyme schemes and stanzas has a rightful expectation of consistent structure rather than a mishmash.

The writer is not incapable of structured verse as seen in “Maiden’s Myth” with four-line stanzas and ab, ab rhyme. Unfortunately, the same poem displays a disregard of diction that is seen throughout this book. “Dawn” is used as a transitive verb, while “gnaw” is rendered a noun.

In “Doesn’t Hurt to Try,” we have “Neither fawn nor fauna could produce the familiar melody from its lot.” Besides the line being incompressible, the logical equivalent of “Neither fawn nor fauna” is “Neither flounder nor fish.”

Free verse provides an escape from the binds of structure, but it still requires rhythm, and reverence for diction. Neither of which can be found here.

A line from “Doesn’t Hurt to Try” might best describe the author’s work:

“I am a poet who still has much to learn.”

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Format/Typo Issues:


Rating: *** Three Stars

Reviewed by: Sam Waite

Approximate word count: 16-17,000 words

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