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Review: Fran Wilde’s ‘Clock Star Rose Spine’ Transported Me

See our original publication announcement of this book from last month to read a poem from the book! Also, check out Fran’s other books.

Though it has a title a bit like a tongue twister, Clock Star Rose Spine, a collection of poetry by GeekMom’s own pet Fran Wilde, is a gorgeous and heart wrenching journey through the deep and varied recesses of the mind as we explore the world through many different lenses. Featuring Fran’s own fountain pen illustrations along with her thoughtful words, the book combines previously-published poetry with plenty of never-before-published works.

The book’s approximately 80 pages are divided into four sections, each appropriately entitled “Clock,” “Star,” “Rose,” and “Spine.” The first poem in the book is also entitled “Clock Star Rose Spine,” setting the tone for the rest to come. The book’s beautiful poems cover topics such as love and connection, parenting, photography, feeling less than free, mythology, family struggles, disability, self-care, travel, movie stars, self portraits, and the experience of being known, each poem representing one or more snapshots in time, be it a scene or a state of mind.

The poems in this collection give a glimpse into the human experience. They are beautiful and nonspecific enough to both appreciate on their own and apply to your own life. They are read out of the context in which they were written, giving us the opportunity to connect with them in our on way, on our own terms. This book and each of these poems will mean something different to everyone.

I’m not normally drawn to poetry, but I couldn’t put this book down. Fran’s words masterfully walk the line between cryptic and meaningful. They don’t read like a narrative, but instead provide random glimpses into life, and her life, like a series of heartbeats or eye blinks. Capturing flashes of clarity.

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After reading these poems, you are left with complete images, created half from her words, half from your own mind. When I finished the book, read all in one sitting, I felt like I’d just been through An Experience, like reading an emotional novel or watching an immersive movie. I just had to sit with it for a while before moving on with my day. When I looked up from reading, I was slightly surprised to find myself at my desk, in my living room, among family, in a world that had just kept going while I was completely gone, inside the poems.

Though the finished book will have a full-color interior, my advance copy is black and white inside, but I kind of love it that way. It allows my mind to imagine the colors.

Clock Star Rose Spine by Fran Wilde is available for purchase now for $18. You’ll find yourself reading through sections, savoring Fran’s illustrations and the visuals that her words create in your mind. And then coming back to favorite poems and stanzas again and again. I was actually tempted to write in this book, underlining, making notes about the especially meaningful bits.

This book may cause you to examine or re-examine your own life, gaining new insight about where you’ve been and the direction you’re going. Your heart will break. Your spirit will soar. Give it a read. And then read it again.

This collection will remain with you as you try to move on with your day.

Note: I received an advance reading copy for review purposes.

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This post was last modified on September 5, 2021 1:36 pm

Jenny Bristol

Jenny Bristol is Editor-in-Chief of GeekMom and an Editor at GeekDad. She is a lifelong geek who spends her time learning, writing, facilitating the education of her two wickedly smart kids, losing herself in history, and mastering the art of traveling on a shoestring.

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