Review of Whiskey Words & Shovel II


Whiskey Words & a Shovel by R.H. Sin

Publication Date: June 7, 2016

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Reviewing Whiskey Words & a Shovel is a different task from all of my previous reviews. It’s a book of poetry and while I love poetry, both to read and write, I am frequently intimidated by the act of critiquing reviewing it (yes, I used to belong to a poetry workshop and did critiquing so that might have been a slip of the er keyboard).

These days my favorite poet is Mary Oliver and I buy or get on loan any offering of hers. Her poetry seems simple, but there is always that word or phrase that makes you jump as if you were about to be bitten by a snake. It’s simple, but deceptive. The reason why I mention this is because R.H. Sin’s poems are also simple and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. The wording is simple. The meaning is simple. They can be inspirational. They can dwell in angst. What they lack, that just separates them significantly from Mary Oliver’s poems, is that moment of “aha.”

For some reason as I was reading, I remembered a book of poetry I found by Rod McKuen who was evidently extremely popular in the late 60’s and early 70’s. His poems were very sincere. And, I guess I felt that way about this collection.

I feel that these are the kinds of poems you might read during a difficult relationship or after a break-up. You will relate to these poems then. There are some common truths here: you will be feeling bad a lot, awake, and he will be asleep. This is kind of heart-wrenching and I guess that this is what this book embodies for me. Many truths about relationships, whether they are good or bad. I guess I wish that there was something more, that elusive “aha” that gives it all sense. But maybe with relationships, most of it’s already been said, because we do dwell on it. Maybe instead of “ahas” we have straightforward.

from read closely

you miss the person you thought

he was

you’re in love with everything

he used to be

you hold on because your love

is unconditional

you’re up thinking about him

wanting his attention

maybe a text, a call, maybe you

just want to lay up and cuddle

but he’s always doing this

he’s rarely around and it hurts

that’s what keeps you up at


you’re hurting right now and

he’s probably asleep

I was given an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From Amazon: Whiskey Words & a Shovel

review: butterflybutterflybutterflyladybug (3 butterflies and a lady bug out of 5 butterflies)

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