PSYCHO Poetry and Shadows in Time by Judi Galardi is two, two, TWO books in one. This slim (108 pages) but sometimes powerful volume of poetry is literally composed of two separate volumes joined together - PSYCHO Poetry at 52 pages and Shadows in Time, making up the rest of the book. Thus, reviewing this volume is a bit problematic, as the quality varies widely from the first section of poetry to the second. While I would recommend Judi Galardi’s book, that recommendation is based almost entirely on the section Shadows in Time, and I would like to have seen the entire book be of the quality of this latter section.
PSYCHO Poetry begins “These poems were written after my hospitalization at a local psychiatric hospital.” Powerful poetry, indeed, can conceivably result from experiences under such unpleasant conditions. However, I found I appreciated the drawing and photos in this first section more so than most of the poetry.
With titles for poems such as “Delusions I (In Manic Verse),” “Over the Edge,” “Hurting Herself,” and “The Quiet Room,” you quickly get the idea that the subjects of the poems are often disturbing and dark. Nothing necessarily bad with that in itself; much poetry, truth to tell, IS disturbing and dark. In this case, however, I was turned off by it--but, I’m only one person with one opinion, as is anyone who comments on books.
Now, to what I’d say is the GOOD news. The second section, Shadows in Time, is almost uniformly good. While I would rate the poetry in PSYCHO Poetry at only three stars, I’d rate the poetry of the second section at between four and a half to five stars, for the most part. I especially liked “A Promise in Winter,” which is about the dreariness of winter but also the budding of a crocus, a sign of the coming spring, a “promise which will be fulfilled.” One line evokes one of winter’s hazards in a clever way: “Now I walk head down - watching for patches/of ice that may slip underfoot and drop me.”
Other poems of note in Shadows in Time are “Untitled” and “April 15." “Untitled” is about “Serpentine dreams” that haunt “native” woman and has a dream-like quality itself. I like mythological themes in poetry, so the lines “Pegasus charges the ropes that enchant her/she drops to her knees, bound evermore” appealed to me. “April 15th,” about tax time, deals with the onerous obligation of forking over hard-earned dough to Uncle Sam in a humorous way. Being a java junkie, I was struck by the lines: “Perhaps I can/write off/the coffee pot/as a home improvement.” and the following stanza: “No, they depreciate/too quickly--/Possibly caffeine/as a medication.”
Judi Galardi writes extremely good poetry when she’s at her best, so in summation, I would recommend PSYCHO Poetry and Shadows in Time. Though the writing is uneven and the subject matter of the first section may be off-putting to some readers, both the drawings and photos there and the poetry of Shadows in Time compensate satisfactorily. This volume is definitely worth a look; if she continues to write poetry at the high standards of Shadows in Time, Judi Galardi should have a successful career in poetry ahead of her.