Monday, January 29, 2024

Arranging Words: Poems by Fran Abrams - Review

What a clever little collection! Abrams knows how to use words precisely to bring out a chuckle, or even to make that light bulb come on in your head..."Hey, I've always thought/wondered that myself." As in, On the Tip of my Tongue, she talks about how when you talk to someone with a pierced tongue, you really have to work at not looking at it the entire time. And then there's this one, which touches on something I've always wondered myself. Why do we have names for some things and then just don't for others? From We Have No Name for Them...

When a parent loses a child, 
we have no name for that. 
When a boy loses his sister, 
there is not word to label him. 

Whether his sister died a victim
of car crash, shooting, or illness, 
we have no vocabulary 
for those who remain.
The poem Three Little Words showcases how powerful just three little words can be. A stanza from the poem:
Knowledge is power
Just do it
Nothing is impossible

And the hilariously funny All Ears. Seriously, the image in my head on this one. It also reminded me of a Shel Siverstein poem. 

This is such a fun collection. Things are so serious in the world right now. Sometimes it's nice to read something lighthearted to take us away from it all. This collection does just that.

About the collection:

Arranging Words is Abrams’ second chapbook collection. It is a series of light-hearted poems that asks the reader to look at words from a new perspective. These poems approach letters, words, and everyday phrases in a way that pokes fun at the eccentricities of the English language.

For example, her poem titled “K Knows How to Hide and Seek” begins with the line “Kknocks twice, but we only hear him once,” reminding us how often “k” is a silent letter.

The poem “Poetry Exercise” plays on the meaning of the word “exercise” with the line “Brain cells stretch, lift your arms, reach for words.” Phrases are deconstructed into literal meanings, such as in the poem “Beside Myself” that asks, “Am I myself or the one beside myself?”

This collection illuminates the quirks of the English language in a lively, humorous way while demonstrating a love for words themselves.

About the Author:

Fran Abrams lives in Rockville, MD. Her poems have been published in literary magazines online and in print and appear in more than a dozen anthologies. In July 2022, the title poem of this book, “Arranging Words,” was a finalist in the 2022 Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry. Her two previous books are: I Rode the Second Wave: A Feminist Memoir (2022) and The Poet Who Loves Pythagoras (2023). Learn more at and Connect on Facebook at Fran Abrams, Poet.

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  1. Fran has a unique perspective. She always has something fun to say in her poems. Definitely comes through the most in this collection, but all of her collections have that humor.

  2. We Have No Name for Them is incredibly powerful. I wonder if other languages have names that English does not.

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