Book Reviews

Pacific Book Review

Throughout life, Jelena Bango has experienced a strong search for God and the meaning to life. Throughout her journey she has been able to learn and understand other people’s struggles for and with the Light. This in turn allows her to appreciate her faith on a deeper level. Through the use of poetry Jelena Bango is able to express this appreciation through her heart’s language, thus opening the flood gates of the muses. This collection of poetry allows Jelena not only to share her faith with others but opens her soul to her readers.

It takes a lot for an author to bear their soul through poetry and Jelena Bango does a wonderful job bringing her faith and values to life through this collection of poetry. Combined with images of herself and family, readers get a strong grasp of who she is as a person as well as an author. They feel a unique connection to the poet. The collection opens with an amazingly powerful poem called Who am I? that reaches into your heart and soul. The final line “I am a child of God” really hits home to the reader on a spiritual level. She continues this powerhouse writing throughout the rest of the poetry. This is not a series of poetry that one can quickly read through, it requires thought, reflection and contemplation. One of the most powerful could arguably be the poem titled I Believe which feels like an affirmation of the author’s faith and beliefs which could mirror the readers allowing a feeling of kinship.

The way Bango’s thoughts flow from one to another and mixes in with the images of the past creates a state of meditation and prayer. She expertly weaves together the mysteries of life with metaphors, metaphysical, and religious ideas to give her readers something which transcends emotions. Through her words Bango urges her readers to reflect on their own journey to self-discovery and search for God to find a greater meaning to their lives.

With the Lamp of My Soul is a book I would recommend to Christian readers who enjoy a splash of poetry. This is perfect for someone who wants something more to supplement their spiritual walk with God. It is one collection that touches your heart while challenges your thoughts at the same time. Excellently written, this poetry collection is the perfect addition to the poetic bookshelf.


The US Review of Books

With the Lamp of My Soul
by Jelena Bango
book review by Nicole Yurcaba

“Into the nights of the deep connected we fall.”

Readers encounter meditations and prayers, insightful wisdom, and reflections in these narrative verses. They then take a different journey through incorporated photographs from the author’s life and various journeys that fuse with other meaningful images that accent the collection’s poems. Those who are politically engaged will enjoy poems like “The Immigrants’ Song” that parallel current events by asking, “Where is our home?” and “Have we found our home?” Musically-inclined readers will find respite in poems such as “Piano,” which offer affectionate reflections about a mother’s role and music’s calming and foundational influence in human relationships. Spiritually-minded ones will find reminders of humility and God’s power in “Namelessness,” “Night or Day,” and “The ‘No’ Journey.” Nature lovers and modern-day Transcendentalists will find comfort in poems like “Rewind and Return,” “My Letter to the Sun,” and “The Sun and The Man.” The scientifically-minded will gravitate towards poems like “GIANT” and “Space Is” because of their blend of astrophysics with the mundane.

These prayerful, reflective, and meditative poems offer readers of all inclinations a poetic treat. With philosophical insight, esoteric theological concepts, and liturgical-like poem structures, this book becomes an engaging read that offers an escape from the hectic, overwhelming daily grind that too often takes an unforgiving toll on one’s senses and spirituality. This book also offers the insight that connections to nature are undeniable and needed, especially in a continually urbanizing world, and it conveys the ever-important role of the family in one’s existence. Poetry readers—both beginning and advanced—will appreciate this book’s balance of metaphor with the literal that creates a reverent tone that both the faithful and the faithless can appreciate.