A Lover in the Land of Hell by Jennie Haiman begins on an appropriate upbeat note – “Welcome, Newborn” – and continues with an exploration of high-minded themes.
Haiman feels different from those around her, and speaks in these poems for the downtrodden: “Perhaps I’m here for a reason–maybe the world needs more like me.” She makes poignant cries for help for fellow beings, including animals, plants, and even the planet itself. She urges us to improve our thinking and “just give.” Two poignant works chronicle the life of a street cat and an old dog consigned to a shelter. Overall, these poems are lyrical calls to action to treat the world around you better.
Though lacking the polish of a more seasoned hand, Haiman’s poems are memorable for their overarching theme: the wish to help others. Very often, poetry can be inward looking and even self-obsessed, but these poems laudably look outward. There are only a few poems regarding the author’s personal life, with most focusing on vital concerns and urging others to maintain a similar viewpoint, so her passion for helping others comes through loudly in these energetic poems.
With its call to care, Haiman’s collection can provide her readers hope in a difficult world, a sense of kinship with a like-minded thinker, and an important impulse to action.