I have read and reread this book, and each time I come back to it the poems seem ever more fresh. Shedding light through windows of emotion, Leonard C...moreI have read and reread this book, and each time I come back to it the poems seem ever more fresh. Shedding light through windows of emotion, Leonard Cohen's writing illustrates a unique understanding of what it means to be human. His verse and prose offer simple beauty and haunting stories.(less)
Who knew that poets are just people too? Bill Moyers does a superb job of cracking poetry's hard veneer to reveal mere mortals on the inside at the Do...moreWho knew that poets are just people too? Bill Moyers does a superb job of cracking poetry's hard veneer to reveal mere mortals on the inside at the Dodge Poetry Festival. He welcomes us to think twice about what poetry can offer.
In the same fashion as Moyer's famed Power of Myth interview with Joseph Campbell, the thirty-four interviews in The Language of Life were originally viewed on PBS, then written into a companion book.
The writers discuss what poetry means to them personally and what they wish to impart by sharing their words this way. The tradition has far-reaching roots, intertwining with family histories, race and gender issues, politics near and far, philosophies as old as the hills, sacred landscapes and beloved bodies.
Each writer's life experiences (which are inspiring at best and emotionally wrenching at worst) affect their approach to poetry. The fact that each approach in this book is just slightly different from the next is what made me keep on reading the conversations. It is a fascinating collection of thoughts.(less)
This is a book of creatures that does not disappoint (and I am speaking as one familiar with creature books in general). In each poem, Gerstler allows...moreThis is a book of creatures that does not disappoint (and I am speaking as one familiar with creature books in general). In each poem, Gerstler allows some part of herself a moment, a voice. Each of these parts I could see mirrored (sometimes in a warped, fun-house sort of way) in my own self, and yet they each stand unique, creaturely, as selves belonging to no one else but themselves.
I found one of the strongest, most persistent voices in this book coming from "Mrs. Monster Pens Her Memoirs". This could be simply because most all of the other persona are treated with a light touch and a sense of play. I do enjoy this part of Gerstler's poetry- to describe life as a caterpillar or a dog as it's done here takes an awesome sense of creativity and intuition. Even in a poem like "Broken Lines", where there is an assumed sense of somberness, she manages to stay playful and say, "Keep an eye on us, will ya? Don't let your friends get too sullen or puckered."
"Mrs. Monster Pens Her Memoirs" is an earnest poem that, in its fifteen-plus pages, has no room for joy. Despite its heavy emotions, the poem really shines. Gerstler's subtle imagery of two monsters in love on the lip of the Grand Canyon has flashed in my head since reading the poem, and this will be one of the reasons I will no doubt turn these pages again.(less)
I'm easily transported by these poems, now having lived in New England for a few years and experienced the landscape. As I sit cozy and anticipate ano...moreI'm easily transported by these poems, now having lived in New England for a few years and experienced the landscape. As I sit cozy and anticipate another snowy winter, they are the perfect companion. I have never been able to appreciate Frost this much before.
The only reason I give this book four stars instead of five is because I could've done without the editor's commentary, especially because it prefaces each poem, before I'm able to form my own impressions of them. Every poem has such a strong identity intrinsically that I found myself skipping the extra words in between. The poems will continue to resonate with me, and I'll be able to read into them even deeper next time.
"If one by one we counted people out For the least sin, it wouldn't take us long To get so we had no one left to live with. For to be social is to be forgiving."(less)