Ten Poems To Set You Free

Housden, Roger. Ten Poems To Set You Free. Harmony: Crown. Jan. 2004. c.144p. ISBN 1-4000-5112-6. $15. SELF-HELP

This niche title uses vocabulary as vehicles for self-help. As in his previous Ten Poems To Change Your Life and Ten Poems To Open Your Heart, Housden expands on the work of poets both well known (e.g., Thomas Merton) and obscure (e.g., Anna Swir), with an eye toward improving oneself. Housden’s ardor for verse–it is “the spark, the fire at our center … the one thing worthy of our true name”–approaches infatuation; are certain revelations present merely because Housden is looking too hard? Also, because he draws on some of the same poets here that he did in his earlier books (e.g., Rumi, Mary Oliver, and Naomi Shihab Nye), Housden gives the impression that he’s only repeating himself.

This review appeared in Library Journal 129.1, January 2004: p138; the galley was recycled on February 18, 2012.

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