portraits of red and gray: memoir poems by James Morehead Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author and poet James Morehead take readers on a journey from childhood to adulthood, from Soviet Union era-Russia to the Canadian wilderness, Wyoming, and beyond in his book “portraits of red and gray: memoir poems”.


The Synopsis

Take an unforgettable journey from the Cold War USSR to Savery, Wyoming, from the mountains of Tuscany to the peak of Yosemite’s Half Dome, from the Canadian wilderness to the beaches of Normandy. James Morehead’s (Poet Laureate – Dublin, California) acclaimed collection is built around a series of memoir poems that takes readers into pre-perestroika Soviet Union through the eyes of a teenager, from Moscow to Tbilisi to Leningrad (and many stops in-between). The striking cover, designed by Zoe Norvell, is based on a 1982 lithograph by Igor Prilutsky.

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The Review

This was such a moving and beautiful collection of poetry. The author does a remarkable job of using profound imagery that feels both relatable and memorable at the same time, and the varied pacing of each poem speaks to the uniqueness of the memories that make up the subject of each poem, speaking to a specific moment in the author’s life that added to their growth as a person.

To me, the author’s work really worked for the balance in the surface-level themes of life experiences in specific places with the deeper meaning of love itself. Each poem spoke not only to the location of the author’s experience, but the person that they spent that memory with, whether it was the boating trip with his father, watching his Italian grandmother-in-law bake, and so on and so forth. The details that went into each poem spoke to the experience and things around the author that resonated with the person he was with, speaking to the insightful nature of his experiences, even when the person he resonated with was his younger self.

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The Verdict

Memorable, thoughtful, and engaging, author James Morehead’s “portraits of red and gray: memoir poems” is a must-read collection of poetry. The emotional and moving connection the reader makes to the author’s experiences blends well with the imagery and vividness of each poem, making this a wonderful read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

James Morehead is Poet Laureate of Dublin, CA. portraits of red and gray is his second collection, and he hosts the Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast. James’ poem “tethered” was transformed into an award-winning animated short film, “gallery” was set to music for baritone and piano, and his poems have appeared in numerous publications. He is currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 18: the bookworm (review)

April 27: A Bookish Way of Life (review)

May 6: Anthony Avina’s blog (review)

May 9: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (review)

May 11: Impressions in Ink (review)

May 15: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (interview)

May 23: CelticLady’s Reviews (guest post)

May 25: Books Parlour (review)

May 29: True Book Addict (review)


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