Score: 90/100 (9.0 out of 10)
Second Harvest is a beautifully structured, cleverly written, and heartfelt poetry book by Don Agey. It is a poetry book with immense heart and soul. The core of that is in the poet's inspiration: his late wife.
Don Agey considers his late wife his muse, and it shows—she shows throughout the pages of this book. She's found somewhere in every stanza and every line, even the lighthearted and cynical ones.
You can practically feel the character development (if you can even call it that) of Don, an aged, retired, somewhat frustrated, somewhat contented man with a snarky sense of humor. There are poems in here about death, loss, and even hints at suicide (in which the poet asks God to take them to paradise). This is a really emotional collection of poems.
At the same time, Agey also treats us to some fun poems like “Party on Dude” and “No Reason Really” in which the poet, in his signature quatrains, talks about how the poem has no point. Well, it kinda does. It's a poem about the process of writing. Writing is hard. Writer's block is a real thing, not some alien phenomenon. When the poet says:
“This poem had a reason
This poem had a rhyme
But I trashed the reason
I really suck at rhyme”
You really feel the struggle and the fight in the writer's mind. Writer's are constantly battling a combination of self-doubt and impostor syndrome. We can say a lot about it, and this isn't even really one of the better poems in this book!
There's also a poem that playfully pokes fun at how aggressive cats can be, demanding a “blood sacrifice” to be fed and played with.
The author is skilled at many of the conventions of poetry and demonstrates multiple different kinds of poems including haikus and limericks. However, the poet's favorite approach of poetry is through the use of quatrains—four-line stanzas. The grand majority of these poems are made of these kinds of stanzas. The main strength of four-line stanzas is that it lends itself well to end-rhymes and usually has a very familiar and appealing beat. The author takes full advantage of this.
Some of our favorite poems using quatrains are “Dredging,” “In Search Of...,” and “Feign It!”
There are some gorgeous lines that come out of these. For example:
“I began this deep search for the origin
Pressure steadily mounted
I reaped nothing for all my foragin'
Unless a headache counted”
“One should never articulate
Whatever comes to mind
Or rashly orally participate
In conversations mined”
We're very impressed and proud of Don Agey in forging something positive from a profound tragedy.
If you love poetry, check this out on Amazon!