Journeys: An Exploration of Being by Victoria A. Carella is a collection of traditional poetry. Carella is a Mystic, Master Shaman, master of human consciousness, Master Medicine Woman, transformational teacher, visionary, artist, author, poet, and gardener.
In the modern era of Instagram poets and platitudes as poetry, it is refreshing to see that traditional poetry is still being written. Carella relies heavily on end rhymes in either an aabb or abab format. Not only are her poems longer than a few lines, but they can stretch for pages. The combination of rhyme schemes and her narrative storytelling creates a new age Byronesque style of poetry:
A chill wind blows across the land
Night descends with heavy hand
Tempestuous energies within
Hands over the ears to shut out the din
The poem, “Mainstay,” continues with a morphing, talking cat which becomes a clown and an angel which reminded me a bit of Dante. Rather than purely divinely inspiration, the poet does mention mushrooms and the doors of perception in another poem. Either way, the story flows and the rhyme adds to the movement of the story. One must read the lines and not overemphasize the rhymes when reading. However, emphasizing or forcing the rhyme in reading tends to be distracting. Read naturally and allow the words to form the patterns.
A later poem, perhaps autobiographical, tells the story of a girl becoming a woman and searching for her own path. As with many young adults drugs do come into play. Although the poet does not come out and say it directly, Patti Smith once said that she did not have a problem with drugs because she used drugs (marijuana) to create, not hide or turn off. Regardless, the woman in the poem becomes a little too dependent on drugs. She does turn things around and finds that the modern world was still filled with problems and threats even for an educated and conforming woman. She isolates herself and returns to the path she started on before drugs and worldly complications and becomes a master shaman.
The collection ends with shorts bits of wisdom one would expect from a spiritual person. Throughout her work is a connection with the metaphysical. This is represented in mentions of Buddhism, God, and medicine meant in a sense of spiritual healing or the healing by a shaman. There is also a recurring theme evolving and growing. The poem “Butterfly” is also about transformation and discovery of what we are really capable of becoming:
Off they fly somewhere
Their destiny for a time they share
Yet being butterflies they are totally free
The way most of us yearn to be
Carella accomplishes two things in this collection. First, she writes poetry that works in a traditional sense. Secondly, she writes a spiritual book which isn’t heavy-handed or filled with dogma. Both her poetry and narrative work well together. Neither one forces itself on the reader, but instead, seem to join and compliment each other to create a natural feeling and experience for the reader.
Joseph Spuckler has a Masters Degree in International Relations and a deep appreciation for poetry and Modernist writers. He is a Marine Corps veteran and works as a mechanic devoting his off hours for motorcycling and reviewing poetry. Originally from Cleveland, he currently resides in Dallas.