Valerie's Reviews > Eunoia

Eunoia by Christian Bök
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's review
Mar 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: around-the-world-challenge, canadian-literature-challenge-2012, poetry, male-writer, canadian, world-literature
Read from March 09 to 10, 2012 — I own a copy

I moved this book up on my to read list because I wanted to try and read some Canadian literature this year. Bök is the only Canadian poet that I know, right now, and I am going to do research to remedy this.

I was very impressed by Bök's poems. The book is split up into chapters, each chapter has poems where the only vowels are a certain letter. Each chapter was dedicated to a person with a name that has only one vowel, like Hans Arp, Yoko Ono. I kept thinking I caught him making a mistake, but they were all perfect. The poems made sense too, I thought the poems were going to be nonsense, or repetitive. Some of the chapters are longer than others, which is understandable. The poems all seemed to have the same format and were about 11-13 lines long.

The first part of the book was called Eunoia, and the second part is called Oiseau. Eunoia was the part with the vowel poems, Oiseau still has some letter exercise poems, but I like the format of Eunoia better. Oiseau isn't unified. I liked it, but it seems tacked on.

At the end of the book, Bök wrote what all the rules were for the poems. Here is an exerpt of some of the rules" "All chapters must allude to the art of writing. All chapters must describe a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau and a nautical voyage. All sentences must accent internal rhyme through the use of syntactical parallelism." Those are only some of the rules. This book must have taken forever to write. I feel like I am breaking my brain when I think about all the work that went into these poems.

Besides the fact that the poems were technically very good, they were also fun to read. Some of the chapters featured a main character that the poems revolved around (Hassad, Helen, I, Ubu).

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