A Beautiful Unraveling by Jennifer Patterson Opens Windows to the Soul

A beautiful unraveling cover

A Beautiful Unraveling is the debut collection of poetry by Jennifer Patterson. Patterson’s collection is unique in its portrayal of life.

Like life itself, A Beautiful Unraveling explores a little bit of everything, ranging from milestone moments to commonplace experiences.  Patterson succeeds in capturing the juxtaposing forces of life such as love and loss, gratitude and ungratefulness, and faith and despondency. These opposing forces form a speaker who is steadfast and works to move forward in their life.

Patterson’s collection possesses several unique facets which set the books apart. As many poems follow the contemporary trend of unrhymed free verse, the first unique characteristic of A Beautiful Unraveling is the rhyme scheme of most poems included.  A Beautiful Unraveling contains poems which consist of every other line rhyming. While a reader could assume the stylistic choice would constrain the poetic theme and meaning, it becomes obvious, upon reading the text, that the rhyme scheme is not forced upon the work but instead grows organically from the poems themselves. The rhyme scheme is not a detriment, but instead creates an “unraveling” or untying of current conventions where the work can freely speak. For instance, Patterson writes:

Go ahead, on the hint of a dare,
Go throw your heart out on that limb

Swear you won’t give yourself just one more time
As you cross your fingers and whisper that hymn

Patterson’s rhyme of limb and hymn create a sense of movement in the piece. The rhyme is the catalyst for the change in the speaker’s life. It illustrates a change in ideals and the passage of time in a subtle, thought-provoking structure.

This is not the only poem which allows the rhyme scheme to function as a ticking clock, and a turning calendar page. The speaker muses:

I know of some who smile and swear their hearts are free
As they tiptoe through the mines

And others who once savored the sweetness of honeysuckle
Are now choking on the vines

What starts out burning blindingly bright—
All full of wonder and consumed by desire

The seasons of life leave just a tiny ember;
For I much prefer a slow and steady fire

An obvious signal of the shifting of time is the change in verb tenses and the addition of words such as “now” and “starts out” which indicate a swing in emotions and ideals. The rhyme scheme only adds to the idea that time has changed the speaker’s desires into a need for a steady structure in their life.

As the poem progresses, so does the speaker’s individual growth. This dramatic, everchanging nature creates a steady push and pull between what was and will be: a hopeful and open-minded future.      

A final note on the individuality of A Beautiful Unraveling: The collection is enhanced by watercolor paintings from Joyanna M. As the paintings also explore the varying human condition, they echo Patterson’s juxtaposing themes. Each painting’s capture of movement compliments the motion created by Patterson’s poetry. Together, the watercolors and the poem unfurl the reader into a world which reflects their passions, desires, and hopes for the future.

Follow Jennifer Patterson on Twitter: @pennedheart