Sonnets aren't for everyone, so a book of them may be a daunting concept. I, however, really enjoy reading (and writing) sonnets, so I thought I'd giv...moreSonnets aren't for everyone, so a book of them may be a daunting concept. I, however, really enjoy reading (and writing) sonnets, so I thought I'd give one of my professor's books a go.
The sonnets are not all alike; most don't even have a consistent end-rhyme pattern. This helps one read the book more easily (by making the experience less monotonous) and also shows how, now, sonnet forms can be broken or modified acceptably.
I don't always agree with the word choice at some points in many of the sonnets, mainly because the tone shifts at times when I don't want it to by the use of colloquial words, for example. Still, there are some gems to be found in this book. My favorite poem in the book is "Descent" (one of the poems closer to a traditional sonnet):
The bookish exhaustion of September's trees-- they are overstudious and soon will freeze. Their leaves will painfully fall asleep, perjured by Persephone who refuses to leave.
She does, but not before dithering in the skirts of rust, dusting pavements unnecessarily if she must tidy up her desultory hesitations before her lust, like cool fire, plausive and persuadable, thrusts
her toward the famished excavations below, their doleful monotones waiting in parched snow, their periscopes nudging each green plumule
as it begins to grow back through plinths of stone, each teeny pinnacle of somnolent hope. Never alone, she curls and moans, summer but her second home.
The edition is not perfect; there are a couple times when minor edits fell through the cracks (one is even corrected by my professor in ink!), but for the most part the poems are solid and easy enough to read. Some may find themselves running to the dictionary, but the context makes infrequently used words understandable. And, of course, the range of topics written about also helps with meaning. Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to picking up another that my professor wrote.(less)
Since Julie's my poetry professor, I thought I'd give this book a try. What I really like about her poetry is that it's so musical. Sometimes sound qu...moreSince Julie's my poetry professor, I thought I'd give this book a try. What I really like about her poetry is that it's so musical. Sometimes sound qualities can take away from poems when the sound shouts over the poems themselves, but Julie's have a nice balance that cater to a natural rhythm. She also is willing to go back to Chaucer and his middle-English cadences (spelling, pronounciation, and all) while employing modern-day characters and situations.
My favorite poem in this collection is "Hate Poem," which I've read before in a sample textbook I'm taking into consideration whenever I get to teach again:
I hate you truly. Truly I do. Everything about me hates everything about you. The flick of my wrist hates you. The way I hold my pencil hates you. The sound made by my tiniest bones were they trapped in the jaws of a moray eel hates you. Every corpuscle singing in its capillary hates you.
Look out! Fore! I hate you.
The blue-green jewel of sock lint I'm digging from under my third toenail, left foot, hates you. The history of this keychain hates you. My sigh in the background as you explain relational debases hates you. The goldfish of my genius hates you. My aorta hates you. Also my ancestors.
A closed window is both a closed window and an obvious symbol of how I hate you.
My voice curt as a hairshirt: hate. My hesitation when you invite me for a drive: hate. My pleasant "good morning": hate.
You know how when I'm sleepy I muzzle my head under your arm? Hate. The whites of my target-eyes articulate hate. My wit practices it. My breasts relaxing in their holsters from morning to night hate you. Layers of hate, a parfait. Hours after our latest row, brandishing the sharp glee of hate, I dissect you cell by cell, so that I may hate each one individually and at leisure. My lungs, duplicitous twins, expand with the utter validity of my hate, which can never have enough of you, Breathlessly, like two idealists in a broken submarine.
Sometimes a person just needs to let it out, you know? Anyway, it's that ability to let go and say what needs to be said that I admire most about Julie and her work.(less)
One of the best examples of Rosenblatt's satirical work I've read yet. (Then again, the feeling of poignancy I'm getting may be from just recently hav...moreOne of the best examples of Rosenblatt's satirical work I've read yet. (Then again, the feeling of poignancy I'm getting may be from just recently having another birthday.)
The premise of the book is to give "advice" to people in order to age in the best ways possible. Although the first rule sets up the ironic tone throughout the book like the first line in Pride and Prejudice does, the rest of the rules that follow aren't all that bad for a person to follow. The majority of them concern ignoring what other people may think about you and dumbing yourself down so you can't think too much and, therefore, open yourself up to potentially difficult situations, the heart of each point may, in fact, actually help a person live longer.
In total, 145 pieces of "advice" are given in a mainly tongue-and-cheek manner and make references to mainly obscure people and events (including those of the author himself). You don't have to follow them (he certainly doesn't follow them all), but, as Roger implies, you might live a little longer if you do.(less)