4 out of 5 stars
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As a Catholic, I was eager to look into this book of 39 short poems written by Shawn Funk. Your Great Name was engendered after the author “discovered the worlds [sic] best preserved [sic] armoured dinosaur fossil” in 2011. The poems mostly focused on glorifying God for his gifts: creation, his love for humankind from Adam’s time to the present age, and eternal life. For me, the author achieved his purpose to “bring inspiration and comfort to all his readers wherever they find themselves in their faith journey.” I would be delighted to see these poems made into praise songs. One could choose to read a poem or two for motivation at the start of the day or as a thanksgiving prayer before going to bed. The collection also included poems written for his parents, wife, and children.
Here are my favorite poems: Poem # 5 talks about creation, Lucifer’s rebellion, Jesus’s death on the cross and his resurrection, and Jesus’s second coming. God’s healing and mercy are highlighted in Poem # 6. In Poem # 7, one will read about Adam’s fall, Jonah’s stubbornness, and Jesus’s incarnation, sacrificial death on the cross, and resurrection. Poem # 9 features God’s sense of humor! Poem # 33 shows God telling the arrogant Satan that he wants his son, humankind, back because Jesus has paid the price for humankind’s sins.
Most of the poems were written in rhyming couplets or quatrains with a singsong meter. I didn’t see any verses which would be difficult to decode, but a number of poems needed the reader to be familiar with the Bible stories alluded to. Adam and Eve, King David, Job, Paul, and Abraham and Isaac were some of the characters cited, yet most times, the characters were not named. I would suggest that the author include a glossary that would contain the Bible verses for those stories, especially for readers who are not Bible-savvy.
The first poem served as a fitting introduction whereby the author presented the works of great poets like Shakespeare and declared that none of them could surpass the writer of the Bible, God himself. I would have wanted a conclusion or message from the author, though. I liked the author’s use of repetition, much like a song’s refrain, in several poems. One such poem was Poem # 7, where the question “Where art thou?” was used for stories involving Adam and Eve, Jonah, and Jesus on the cross and after his resurrection.
Aside from the suggested glossary and conclusion mentioned above, I have additional recommendations for the author: It would be good to have titles for the poems for better recall. (Shakespeare did not name his 154 sonnets, but this style may not work for today’s busy readers.) I would also propose grouping the poems by theme: creation, Old Testament stories, the end times, poems for his family members, and so on. Another round of editing would make the pieces even better; the numerous errors I found may be corrected quickly.
In summary, I rate the book 4 out of 5 stars. While I liked all the poems, the book could be better organized. Correcting the errors would also be ideal. A fan of Christian poetry would be happy with this collection, but even non-Christians could enjoy the poems’ cadence and their messages of affirmation.
Your Great Name
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