Life Wires by Author Kristine Sihto
Reviewed by Realistic Poetry International
When we first read Author Kristine Sihto’s opening quote and dedication; “To all the stormy eyes who brought so much conflict into my life. These poems are your children,” a voice in the back of our mind instantly perceives pain, adversity, conflict, and contentions; however- before the world and all of its infliction's settle in, Sihto takes us back to her childhood where she evokes the unadulterated face of innocence (also the title of the first section of the book). Reminiscing of the times she once used her imagination to have fun and make amusement, like in poems “The Little Horse” and “The Little Penguin.”
The whimsical tone Author Kristine Sihto uses to portray the theme of Innocence is free-spirited, full of curious wonder, and captures the placid beauty of simple, earthly naturals, like pretty ‘royal bluebells’ shaped like stars, and wise, old trees that ‘whisper wisdom into the wind’ (Tree; pg. 24).
Playful titles like, “Cotton Candy,” “Little Lion,” “Brightly Grows the Grass,” and “Cat Dreaming” assist to create an even more youthful ambience that is honestly hard to ignore. Picturesque qualities and elements of our world that decorate the skies and land like clouds, grass, and various species of animals, such as the ‘Ibis,’ enhance this by placing us in imaginative scenes that illustrate freedom from adverse situations, people, and thoughts.
The journey is refreshing and at the same time, creatively depicted, as the Author uses an effective combination of ordinary language, similar to prose, tangled with quirky metaphors to deliver a ‘show and tell’ style of poetry that is charming and realistic.
This involves high use of imagery, producing scenes our eyes can only marvel, like when she writes of the clouds and envisions ‘gods playing at the carnival, chewing on pink cotton candy mists (Cotton Candy; pg. 19).’ And with a twist of realism, she also uses this effect to invoke her own personal life memoirs, for example, confessing of the time in her childhood when she specifically recalls her own ‘sticky fingers’ from the “glace cherries, straight from the fridge, eaten out of sight (Childhood Sensuality; pg. 18).”
Using words that are impacting to the senses like ‘sticky,’ ‘glace,’ ‘pinpricks,’ ‘trickling,’ ‘cloying,’ ‘roughness,’ and ‘honeyed’ strengthen the Author’s perspective and effectively energize her verses.
Seduction, the second part of the book, escapes the first phase of innocence and plays perfectly into its chosen theme, characterizing various traits of the heart such as lust (Self-loathing; pg. 33), dedication (The Oldest Waltz; pg. 33), desire (Sizzling Summer Sirens; pg. 34), deception (Snake; pg. 40), loss (Absent; pg. 52), attraction (The Twentythreeness; pg. 49), and love (Batu Caves; pg. 53).
With her playful, buoyant spirit still thriving, despite the earlier transition from the theme of innocence, Sihto demonstrates multiple perspectives of love and skillfully amplifies their common associated emotions, also describing possible actions, moods, and conclusions.
We use the poem “First Kiss” as an example, where Sihto begins by saying, “Let me sink down into that dark rainbow of oblivion,” to figuratively translate her own internal itch and longing. Sequentially, the effects of her action to respond to the ‘internal beat filling her ears’ and ‘rushing loudness exploding in her stomach’ causes her to experience a transformation, one in which she feels ‘reborn,’ like a ‘child of passion and wonder!”
But the freedom and atmosphere of child’s play stands for only a moment, that is, until we encounter the subsection, Relation, where it appears the mighty weight and responsibility of true love has the Author’s heart sparkling like crystal yet as fragile as frozen ice.
One of our favorites from this section, “The Journey,” we feel captures this angle best, outlining the weariness and resiliency of the spirit when truly committed to someone else, despite the many steep mountains that must be climbed, or the amount of times the ‘foot may stumble and fall.’
Other poems such as “Saturday Morning, 9am,” “Man in My Bed,” and “Love and Death” share the growing pains of a family/marriage, addressing marital conflict, frustrations, loneliness, and ultimately, dissolution (The End of the Marriage; pg.73).
Towards the latter part of the book, the Author’s words resound with a much more hallow and empty voice, more than likely fragmented by the extensive and emotional journey of love and heartbreak like so many others can probably relate to. She even calls this out by titling one poem, “Emotional Baggage,” then goes on to explain the façade she must steadily uphold, like wearing a mask, to cover up the truth of who she is and how she really feels. Sadness. Exhaustion. Gray.
“The Astronauts Lament,” a poem of wistful nostalgia, recalls when she says even gazing into the sky at stars at night felt different once upon a time. Will she ever get that spark back, we wonder?
Author Kristine Sihto’s poignant collection of poems, Life Wires, is indeed, heartfelt, real, and captures the soul of an ordinary woman who has loved in strength and in weakness. We are pleased to present this book with a 5-star rating and can certainly envision a part two to continue her ever-evolving expedition!
Expressively candid and emotionally profound. Well done!
This book is available on Lulu for purchase at