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Book Review: Job Loss: A Journey in Poetry

JOB LOSS, A JOURNEY IN POETRY by Donna Marie (Pitino) Merritt

“A man wants to earn money in order to be happy, and his whole effort and the best of a life are devoted to the earning of that money. Happiness is forgotten; the means are taken for the end.”
―Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

Job Loss: A Journey in Poetry by Donna Marie Merritt is part of the trilogy Poetry for Tough Times. Merritt is also the author of several children’s books, fifteen of which have won awards for math and science content. She has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Central Connecticut University and a Masters of Science Degree in Psychology from the same university. She can be found at http://www.donnamariebooks.com/

Job Loss, much like What’s Wrong with Ordinary takes on real life events and problems and creates meaningful poetry. From the opening poem “Box”, packing your personal belongings under the watchful eye of supervisors before being escorted to the door; to the box that has become home to many people at work –the cubicle, the reader is taken through the pain and the uncertainty of losing one’s job and the process of finding another. Rejection letters, no replies, and finally that job, that isn’t what you want, not what you need, but seemingly the only thing out there. Finally the realization that it is time for a change.

Merritt does an outstanding job capturing the feelings and despair of losing one’s job. Reading Job Loss took me back to when I lost my high paying job in project management and had much the same worries and fears. How could I be out of work with my experience and education. Only 8% of the population have a master’s degree… I should be at the top of the hiring list. I realized that it was time for a change, too. I became a bicycle mechanic. Not, the greatest paying job, but it gave me something I didn’t have before: Time to stay healthy, time to read (and write reviews), and time to enjoy life. Perhaps happiness is not making money but reading and writing poetry.

I was instantly taken in with What’s Wrong with Ordinary last year and equally taken in by Job Loss this year. Merritt has a knack for capturing life events with beautiful and meaningful words. Unlike so many poetry collections of modern life, Merritt does not fall into cliches or forced rhymes or trying to make make something into poetry against its will, so to speak. Her writing is different. Rather than describing life in poetry, she is a poet describing life and it shows in her work. I get more than my share of free books to review and rarely need to order a books, but I have ordered her latest book, Her House and look forward to reading it.

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