Shades of Blue: The Journey of Awakening is a collection of eighty soulful poems by West Coast dreamer Gino Vallejo. Including fresh and former works, the volume bears witness to life’s continua—no emotional hue forgotten. Adding to the experience, long-time collaborator Stephanie LeVasseur provides a dazzling range of illustrations to compliment prominent pieces. Altogether larger-than-life, the tour depicts transcendence.
From a celestial introduction, “The Heavenly Gate”, Vallejo’s voyage proceeds through time and space, navigating all manner of subject-matter. Selections such as ‘Purple Rome’ and ‘Cleopatra: The Song of the Nile’ meditate upon history’s cyclical nature, fixing on awesome fact. Others, like “Awaiting Venus”, walk us through mystical annals of lore, while ‘Diamond Star’ and kindred pieces celebrate love’s deliverance. Where ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ and “Vanity” denounce man’s flaws, “Fruit of My Life” revels in fatherhood. “Searching Far and Wide” speculates on the key to happiness, “End of Days” assesses modern tyranny, “A Warrior’s Legacy” serves to humanize the soldier’s plight, and “Through a Winter’s Cold” emphasizes the need for God in our hearts. Along the way, we study loss, America’s reputation abroad, terrorism, heartbreak, art and what it means to live.