Reviewed by Lexie Fox
Above The Veil is a new collection of poetry by Henry White II, focusing on a spiritual and reﬂective set of themes. The book is an insightful and fascinating discussion of mental health written across several years with each poem exploring an event in the poet’s life and the feelings associated with that event. The poet, Henry White II, demonstrates not just a high level of technical understanding as they shift between diﬀerent forms and styles in order to best suit their subject, but also a keen eye for imagery and forming links in the reader’s mind between the artistic imagery conjured up and the associated feelings being discussed.
Henry White II is one of those wonderful poets who are willing to expose themselves and their hurt in order to pull artistic beauty out of the hurt in their own lives. Whether that hurt is a direct wound to the soul such as grief or depression, or from more nebulous and harder to articulate sources such as dissatisfaction with the world around us or that creeping concern that true love may be beyond our reach; the poet is willing to lay it all out as the raw materials they use to craft the sublime experience that is reading Above the Veil. I hope that people who read this work and struggle with their own negative feelings about life are able to see a kindred spirit who has been through what they have but also come out the other side stronger for it.
Reviewed by Daniel D Staats
Henry White II knows emotional pain. He also knows how to write poetry. He brings these two together in his book, Above the Veil. What human has not felt rejection? Henry’s poignant poems share his emotions concerning love. Obviously, Henry has loved and loved deeply. Not only has he loved, but he has also lost love. Rejection runs throughout his poetry. Henry has lived a life of sadness.
Reading this book takes one back to any rejection they have felt. Often, reliving the pain can be healing. Letting the pain out can open the heart for healing and restoration. Henry may have loved and lost, but ultimately, he never gives up. The one redeeming hope seen in this book is when Henry brings God into the subject. God can help us overcome our depression but often uses professionals to help.
Henry White II is no stranger to the mental anguish called depression. His style of writing is melancholy. Henry’s poems are full of pathos and pain. It seems as if he is looking for love in all the wrong places and shares his defeats and frustrations. Toward the end of the book, Henry shares Jesus Christ with his readers, and his mood elevates. We may be disappointed in the loyalty of a partner or the faithfulness of a friend, but Henry shows us Christ who sticks closer than a brother. Above the Veil reminds me of a personal journal written with a poetic ﬂair. Read this book and closely identify with the sadness in the poems. In that case, you might want to consider seeking the help of a professional counselor.
Reviewed by K.C. Finn
Above the Veil is a collection of poetry and lyrical short prose. It is aimed at the mature reading audience and was penned by Henry White II. The book is a collection of poetry composed over a long period in which the poet reﬂects on numerous universal themes such as grief, love, mental health, and the potential for happiness in a diﬃcult life. Seeking to share a sense of solidarity with readers who are going through similar experiences, the poet uses their work to openly reﬂect on their own journey through life in order to show that peace and happiness could potentially be in anyone’s future.
The greatest poetry is something that comes from the soul; where a poet looks on the scars they bear from the experiences that life has handed them, only to take those scars and use them to form words that themselves form beautiful ideas in the reader's mind. Henry White II is clearly a talented pedigree of poet, pulling apart the low points of his life with such an amazing sense of introspection paired with a raw talent for poetic phrases that made each of the entries in this collection come alive in my mind as I read them. Above the Veil is almost mystical in the wisdom it shares, with a stunning technique and form that lets the poet’s thoughts and feelings take ﬂight from the page. It is a meditative tool as much as it is a piece of art, and for that reason, I have no hesitation in recommending this collection of poetry to the shelf of any reader.