City Above the Sea and Other Poems Review
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I love poetry, but it’s often difficult to find well-written, poignant poetry that sticks with me years afterward. Stephen Alan Saft’s City Above the Sea collection, however, comes closer to that than any poetry collection I’ve read in a while.

City Above the Sea and Other Poems is a collection of thirty-four blank verse, free verse, and rhyming poems, most of which tell a mini story about the author’s life—discussing the places and things he’s seen, politics, nature, and people he’s met.

“Forty Years Come and Gone” is Mr. Saft’s reflection on the Kennedy assassination and the conspiracy surrounding his death. “A Little Whale Came In My Life” tells the story of a baby whale that got trapped somewhere it wasn’t meant to be and those who try to save it. “The Big Drawing” talks about prayer and how it’s used in a way that’s sure to leave you with an I-never-thought-of-it-in-that-way moment. And “New York in Winter” describes the city and how the author loves it, even if it’s not perfect.

My favorite poem in the book is “Two Deaths.” Mr. Saft talks about how he wishes he had the power to stop death, but, at the same time, he’s reminded that he has limits for a reason, and things are what they are.

Those are just a handful of the sentimental and bittersweet poems included in this collection. Most are two or three pages long, which is usually too long for my taste, but I always ended up interested enough to finish the whole poem—which doesn’t happen often when I read poetry of that length.

Much of the poetry in City Above the Sea is sad. Sometimes it’s even a bit on the bitter side. But it’s not so sad and bitter that I wanted to toss the book away in disgust. Mr. Saft keeps his views on life—and what it’s done to him—in the background, giving readers a taste of what he’s experienced instead.

Even though most of the poems in City Above the Sea aren’t truly memorable, they are thought-provoking, and they’re some of the most well-written modern poetry that I’ve come across in ages. Stephen Alan Saft’s poems make you stop and think and see the other side of the coin, making this short collection well worth the time spent reading it.

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