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of "The Lion and the Golden Calf"


Ronda Eller is a new formalist. She is adept at whatever form she turns her hand to, choosing the kind of verse for whatever she is wrestling into shape. Along with an impeccable ear for measure, rhythm and cadence, her poems exhibit a remarkable range of theme, thought and form. Revered and irreverent references play along unflinching homages to the nature that surrounds her. Eller's artistic background shapes these well wrought poems through an exact eye for detail and a light, sure touch. Drawing from the mythology of many cultures (that feel, in her work, to be deeply experienced) Eller is able to embody metaphysical and philosophical speculation in a grounded lexicon that satisfies the senses. Many of her poems respond to, even channel Yeats... but from the point of view of a contemporary woman. She has the power to deliver as yet inarticulated realms of spirit in language that is approachable and passionate yet has the appearance of inevitability. Ronda is a poet to watch... and listen to. These verses are astonishingly versatile!

• PENN KEMP, B.A. (Hon. Eng.), M. Ed., 2008

Award winning poet, Poet Laureate for London, Ontario; author, essayist, playwright, editor, publisher of Pendas Productions, Judge and workshop facilitator, recording artist and reviewer. Author of 25 books, 11 cds.


As you read each poem in this collection you too will feel the anvil upon the fired steel of your heart acquiescing to an invitation to be formed newly, to be shaped into the image of the prescient shadows echoing eternity, spelling journey, supping on timelessness, sighing with hope!


Poet, workshop and internet instructor, facilitator, publisher at Palabras Press, editor of 'Dance With Words' Newsletter, co-host of Dance With Your Words series on CHEX TV.


     This poetry collection could just as well have been titled "Spinning the Soul". Poem after poem deals fairly and openly with various vicissitudes of life, drawing the reader in, spinning the soul in surprising directions!

     Just as any cycle has its high and low points, so do Eller's poems spin the reader from ebullient enthusiasm to the depths of despair and back again! She leaves no topic unexamined and wistfully mingles seemingly incompatible ones: In "Au Courant", for example, scientific terms and feelings are woven together seamlessly. And again, in "Ripple", a wonderfully expressed personal darkness poem, she juxtaposes the anger of smashing dishes with one's place in the universe.

     Eller uses various poetic forms, both modern free-verse and some well-tried and tested forms. In "Pulled from that Spindled Track" she achieves a beautifully flowing classical style and captures the fluidity of life, then continues her unrelenting spin!

     She achieves an utterly beautiful scene in "She Speaks to Him of Perfect Union", another classical style with an abbc rhyme pattern. "Oh soul that drifts through moods on open sea / and harbours all its hopes in undertow." But besides the classical poetic styles, Eller reaches back to pre-Classical times. In "The Lamentations of Isis", she takes Egypt's primordial myth and conjures up Isis with all her pain of loss within the context of Wisdom. In "Armageddon's Bride", a personality splintered from the Book of Revelations, Eller cleverly shifts from the common people who are the usual victims of Armageddon, to the bride waiting for the "crimson knight". Eller, like many thinking and feeling people puts the threat of the Whore of Babylon behind her and recognizes the new feminine principle risen after an age of religious repression.

     In "Come My Lover", she creates notable lines such as "You've learned to murmur / recitations of your own rising" and "before the morning lifts its lids / and tries to catch us with its glare..." Jungians will immediately recognize the lifelong dance of the Ego and the Animus, a relationship that needs constant work. It is soon followed by "The Alliance..." another well composed Ego-Animus story, not so veiled this time. The kingpin or the keystone in this collection is "The Lion and the Golden Calf: A Vision". This is the poem from which the book takes its title. It successfully tackles the immense chasm between Western and Eastern spirituality in four short stanzas, rhyming abba.

     In "The Henge's Kiss", Eller continues to spin cycles. In this three part poem, "Lead me to the wood-rot rings" gives us a clue right off that we are dealing with a wood-henge in an abbcca rhyming pattern. In the second part, about a stone henge, it is still the poet who kisses "those sarsen stones!" In the third and final part, however, the poet lives and dies, "from life to death to life I pass". Unspoken, the poet establishes the everlastingness of all things within cycles and through her own cycles she makes the henges everlasting as well.

     Love and pain are recurring cycles in Eller's poetry. In "The Ivy and the Rose" she hints that "divine entanglement" may be assured by quantum entanglement, but hopes that so is love! Whereas quite a few previous poems dealt with love spurned, here "we are spurred on with each sunrise / to reach out and touch again!"

     Eller's collection on the whole is a wonderful read! She calls upon her muses, Robert Frost, Wm. B. Yeats and John Donne, and seamlessly shifts to travels within her soul. Love and loneliness spin along with impertinence and defiance, allowing the reader a variety that is always welcome to make a poetry book readable and valuable!

• DANIEL KOLOS, Egyptologist, author, poet and documentary writer, member of Highway 4 Writers, Words Aloud Poetry Cooperative, The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets.

Cover Art also by Ronda Wicks

Following the book's launch at The Art Bar in Toronto, ON:

"(Ronda's) voice is smooth yet expressive and (her) poems have such a magical feel about them. How (she) mix(es) rhyme, rhythm and repetition to illustrate poetic themes had me simply spellbound!"

~ Colleen Flood, published poet, The Art Bar Canadian Poetry Series, Organizational Team Member (at Clinton's  Restaurant), Toronto, ON

"Your themes re: the soul, peace, agape and other forms of love, eclectic spiritual sources resonate with me completely. It is so satisfying and rare to read this wonderful kind of poetry. Your vocabulary astounds me and your seamless formalism also amazes me. I see Yeats, Hopkins and Donne (the metaphysical in you) … your poems remind me of a cold, dark but sparkling shore, vivid and energetic and crystalline, otherworldly. I like deep, keep deep!"

~ Katerina Fretwell, Canadian artist, published poet, Member of the League of Canadian Poets

"I received your fabulous book today, the presentation is wonderful! … Love the holding of it and the certificate and signing; just so darn pleasing to hand and eye … Reading this book has absolutely inspired me … most appreciatively! " 

~ Katherine Gordon, Special Education Teacher, National Coordinator of The Canadian Poetry Association, Award winning poet, Author, Editor, Judge and Reviewer, Recipient of the Ancient Heart Award, Ancient Hearts Literary Review, Bristol, England 

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