Reviews for Pathways to Illumination

Pathways to Illumination

Pathways to Illumination

Review Posted by Carol on 30APR15

Format: Kindle

Price: Gift

Recommend to others: Yes

5 Stars

Christy Birmingham’s “Pathways to Illumination” is a pathway from darkness to an awareness of her fundamental self too long damaged by the hands of an abusive man. Her poems are “Footprints that speak freely about my journey”. These are unambiguous footprints which the reader can follow through her rock bottom to pushing herself to the top.

Footprints of betrayal, a plastic heart and a broken one (“Take me to the day you decided that I would not be your tomorrow”), fake smiles, houses that were never a home, and a forest of lies. Birmingham has learned that when one door closes there’s another one to walk through with strength and “Without a tug on my blouse or a Thumb to keep me down.”

In her final section (New Growth) compassion grows out of pain: “What if we take down our fences built on hate Replace them with fields of corn and other crops To fill empty stomachs and hearts at night?” This is a book about the power of survival, taking back control of one’s life and letting go. “I welcome the shape of me without you. I exhale with regrowth rather than bandage.” It is heartwarming to see her reclaim her identity and her soul. Her new self radiates and her poetic voice continues to vibrate long after the poems have been read.

The black and white photos for each of the five sections (The Toxic Us, And So You Left, Depression, Treatment, Glimmers of Hope and New Growth) are in themselves silent poems. Christy Birmingham is a brave poet who, with candidness reveals her secret leading to a collection of remarkable and honest poetry. Pathways to Illumination is a testament of a woman broken by abuse but not conquered by it: “I no longer care to belong. In Hopes you would love me more for my sacrifices; I plan to move to innerland soon, For more exploration of what I am and less conversation about who you were.” It is also testament to survival and joy possible again.

 

 

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Review Posted by Irina on 21FEB15

Format: Paperback

Price: Reasonable

Recommend to others: Yes

5 Stars

Whoever has been to hell and back will find a strong affinity with Christy’s ‘Pathways to Illumination’. And whoever is in the grip of depression will be encouraged by Christy’s journey from darkness to light. Irrespective of the cause of depression, the road back to health is arduous.

Christy has captured those dark moments as powerfully and vividly as the moments when she started to recover through therapy, to finally take control of her life, to experience again the joy of living. Christy’s poetry reveals a gifted poet who can create unique metaphors and images that touch your senses and your heart. “You play me like fire, instead of like a violin” are the opening lines of ‘Strike a Match’; “Your words eat me alive”, she writes in ‘You Sit there’; and in ‘Sink to the Gravel Bottom’ Christy feels “like a rock thrown to sea” and disempowered, “When your posture is firm, I know that my own back bends”.

First time round, the book should be read as a novel because it is the story of her journey. I must confess that I had to put it aside for a while, the emotion was so overwhelming: I was raging inside against the emotional abuse Christy was subjected to.

When I picked up the book again, I knew I was going to witness a transformation, through therapy, a steady climb from the Gravel Bottom to the moment when in the poem ‘My Legacy Wilting’ she declares: “My heart closes like a steel gate to you now.” The last chapter, entitled ‘New Growth’, contains poems of a healed soul, accepting and loving herself, feeling alive and enjoying life. “Drizzle me in sunshine and layers of milk chocolate” she says in “Drizzle Me”, and I just love the last stanza of the same poem: “I am permanently under new ownership In a daisy field of my own Of my own doing, and The thorns are miles away – I welcome the shapes of blue skies and aspirations.”

Christy’s book shows the way out of bondage. Her poems are beautiful and I love re-reading them; now “I’m allowed” to pick them at random, according to my mood. I recommend this book of outstanding poetry to readers, both women and men, without hesitation – I’m sure they’ll appreciate it and enjoy it as much as I do.

 

 

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Review Posted by Maggie on 5FEB14

Format: ePUB

Price: Reasonable

Recommend to others: Yes

5 Stars

Wow. This is such a powerful book of poems. I love that in a few words she was able to depict such a graphic story. I guarantee it will affect you on a very deep level. This is a woman’s struggle with an abusive relationship and finding her way out of it and having the strength to move forward. Not only is it about an incredibly difficult subject, that we don’t often talk about, but it is so vibrantly told. It is so vivid, visual and sensory filled. You will feel it, see it… it is so real. I gasped a couple of times as I read, my heart going out to the lost, lonely soul who was struggling to discover who she is and what her worth is. Every woman should read this (men too), I think many will identify with what Ms. Birmingham has written. And I think every woman at one time or another really struggles with her self worth and recognizing she deserves better.

In this powerfully written story through poetry, you can feel her struggle on her journey to discover herself and then to that of liking herself. I am so grateful that she has shared what she went through in such an open and raw way. It is absolutely a must read, beautifully written, forever inspiring. I highly recommend it.

 

 

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8 Links to Reviews for Pathways to Illumination

  1. […] First reader review, written on Redmund Productions: […]

  2. […] addition, Pathways to Illumination also received another 5-star review this week at the Redmund Productions website. Wow, did I already say wow? This is my favorite part of the […]

  3. […] second review, posted on Redmund Productions, compares the woman’s journey in the book to the Hero’s Journey narrative described by […]

  4. […] can read the full review on the Reviews for Pathways to Illumination page. Oh and the e-books (Kindle and ePub) are only $3 each! I know I know, I had to say it […]

  5. […] has written countless poems since childhood. She is the author of the poetry collection “Pathways to Illumination” (2013), available exclusively at Redmund […]

  6. […] is the author of the poetry collection “Pathways to Illumination” (2013), available  at Redmund […]

  7. […] can read the rest of the review by reader Irina at the Pathways to Illumination page at the Redmund Productions website, where my book is […]

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