The first word that comes to mind when reading Reed’s work- which is not limited to her customary free verse, but prose and shorter poems like “Hope”, – is haunting. At the same time, that seems a primitive, schoolyard adjective. Haunting are the ghost stories we told our younger siblings and friends in hopes of making them jump at the shadows. Haunting is stepping inside an old house, wondering what spirits infest its master bedrooms and cellar. Haunting are the regrets we all live with, in spite of the things and decisions we could have handled better.
I know Kristiana Reed. She has been my confidante, friend, beta reader, business partner, book reviewer and fellow poet for the better part of two years. But I didn’t really know her like I do after reading her first book of poetry, Between the Trees. I have read many of these poems before; but they were snippets of a debut masterpiece, waiting for its ultimate assembly. Within its pages, Reed paints a sharp contrast- that of a heart brimming with love (sometimes to the point of naïveté, as she points out herself on several occasions); and a mindset in mutiny, forever wondering if she is deserving of its reciprocation.
Through her vivid imagery, we move through Reed’s ghosts, regrets, quiet optimism and tempered grace. There is no crescendo here; no grand revelation, because the only revelation occurring here is the voice within Between the Trees, spiriting us away on a journey of self-reflection and growth.
I give this book my highest, and most certainly subjective, recommendation.
Between the Trees by Kristiana Reed comes out on May 19th 2019. It will be available on Amazon globally.