The title poem is spectacular. Worth the price of admission and I'm glad to have bought the book based on the tumblr-hype just to support a young poetThe title poem is spectacular. Worth the price of admission and I'm glad to have bought the book based on the tumblr-hype just to support a young poet. I hope Clementine von Radics continues to develop and I will look forward to reading her in about 10-15 years (god willin' and the creeks don't rise)....more
My first immersive experience in a complete book of poetry in a loooooooong time. Very powerful with many moments of amazingly beautiful language andMy first immersive experience in a complete book of poetry in a loooooooong time. Very powerful with many moments of amazingly beautiful language and images (all the more so because describing sometimes very ugly scenes of racism and violence); some (deceptively) simple, and others much more complex and layered, elusive and impenetrable - but no less enjoyable for it. Recurring themes and images that made the journey from poem to poem, and from section to section, tell a larger story. ...more
I love alice walker. I love her novels, which read like poems. In fact, before I knew she was a poet, I knew she was a poet.
And I love this volume ofI love alice walker. I love her novels, which read like poems. In fact, before I knew she was a poet, I knew she was a poet.
And I love this volume of her poetry. The title poem is a stunning piece of environmental consciousness coupled with simple, but powerful, images of the earth as a body/the body as the earth. Her sensibility oozes out of these words, even more than in her novels.
I'm doing a line by line close reading of The Wasteland, because I have the utter gall and audacity to think that I may do some kind of review here. II'm doing a line by line close reading of The Wasteland, because I have the utter gall and audacity to think that I may do some kind of review here. I don't know what that will look like, yet -- but I reckon if I make this note, some of the goodreaders might actually hold me to it.
I'm through sections I and II. I love this edition, which has copious annotations including Eliot's own, an excellent introduction that discusses some of the more important and interesting text changes over the early years, plus lots of in-depth background material, lit crit, etc. All jam packed into 288 un-intimidating pages. (note to self - the poem is 433 lines. My updates will be expressed as % completed of the poem alone)
The beauty of Eliot (as I recalled and can now re-confirm) is that you can pay attention to this, i.e., the classical allusions and other context, or not, as you choose. The poem is accessible, readable, interpretable without these. Engage with it, and you cannot help but get something out of it.
This is another text (I'm thinking of Mrs. Dalloway now) that changes, morphs into whatever the shape of container that the reader brings to it. It's hard, for me at least and especially these days (despite my training by avid New Critics) to approach any text cleanly and in a vacuum. So I confess that this time I am thinking of Eliot a little more broadly. (I am also reading his letters side-by-side).
Here, Eliot's proselytizing Christianity (not his anti-Semitism) is hovering in the background, inflecting the text with a layer of meaning that I find myself reacting to (against?) and needing to incorporate. There is also a materialism/anti-materialism theme that is emerging this time around, where it didn't before.
I look forward to seeing how these themes and others shape up in the remainder of the poem, and whether I end up having a different view of the poem -- and the poet -- than I once did.
I clipped Humphreys' poem "Installation" from The Globe & Mail somewhere around 1999, and it has been posted on my fridge ever since. I finally goI clipped Humphreys' poem "Installation" from The Globe & Mail somewhere around 1999, and it has been posted on my fridge ever since. I finally got this collection of poems, and will be interested to see if the rest of Humphreys' poetry (she is better known as the writer of The Lost Garden) stand up to the quality of this one.
Back soon with more ... ___________________________________
10/18/08: Liking it. Not loving it. It feels like buying a CD of music based on one hit song. I generally have trouble with poetry collections from one poet; I prefer anthologies or single poems. But that's ok, because this is a lovely little book (physically, I mean) and I like to support poets, especially Canadian ones, even if every single poem is not a bright, shiny gem.
In poetry, I look for three things:
1) Words that make music. The ring and crash of sounds against each other. Doesn't matter what the words mean at this point. Humphreys gets there too occasionally for my liking. In "Installation", it's "grinning with rivets" ... "notes of chrome" ... "chalk circle over dark harbour". There are some, but too few, instances of this in the rest of Anthem, at least so far.
2) Original turns of phrase or concept. A sustained, but not cliché or heavy-handed, metaphor. This is nice, from "Variations":
The notes of the piano released up, showering down. A word is not pure sound like that, cannot
persuade the air to change.
But I don't like another of the lines in here: Shimmer of rain in the trees like the / shiver of blood in my chest. Let me clarify: I like the line--it's evocative, I can 'feel' what she means here. But this line is not supported with any other imagery in the rest of the poem, and it doesn't seem to support the central metaphor. It's just sitting out there disembodied and falling flat.
Note here: lots of these poems allude to the struggle of using words to describe emotions. Well, isn't that the poet's struggle in general? Humphreys goes literal a little too often for my taste.
3) All of the above, resulting in imagery that sets up ambiguities, dissonant and multiple layers of meaning. "Installation", taken as a whole, does that. Haven't yet found one that has got me there ... but still reading.....................