A remarkable collection of poems by a remarkable poet.
I adore how the majority of the poems lack punctuated pauses where they would naturally fall, giA remarkable collection of poems by a remarkable poet.
I adore how the majority of the poems lack punctuated pauses where they would naturally fall, giving each individual piece, and the work as a whole, a sense of urgency, as though memories are sifting quickly through the mind, eager to reach the next and the next, trying to fill an emotional void.
It seems as though the narrator (whether fictional or not) toys with the idea of suicide in many poems, but is in denial, and is therefore diving deeper and deeper into existence (her own, and the world's), to unravel it, right down to the atoms that create it. Perhaps answers can be found there. In the microscopic fundamentals of life.
Magdalena Ball digs deep into everyone's psyche with grace and beauty. Even the ugliness of this world becomes enchanting and attractive. In the poem "Luminous Air" we experience the mystery of loss in a way that one can almost taste it:
We forgot the secret again lost on the island you in your bare beauty bringing up goosebumps in the audience while you tilted your head whispering small, small.
All the poems deal with 'voids' in one way or another, an emptiness that's so solid inside us, that I wonder whether this was a considered reason behind the title. If we unmake those atoms, will the emptiness that exists in all of us disappear?
Mysterious voids are abound in many poems, but here are a few of my favourite lines which make my stomach grow hollow, as if in a sympathetic reaction:
From "Right Angles to Reality":
In place of mourning I laughed silently, hysterically a synechdoche for all those things we pretended were real. That big open mouth the echoing void your waving hand.
Would I forever be stuck in namelessness; a nomad looking for a home lost in that lonely place where skin meets bone.
I'm in your house again all windows open the kettle on tea for one my company not augmented by your ghost courted, coaxed and called while silence echoes off the walls
In a literal sense, this collection explores the way we identify with the solid matter of our worlds. But if you brush away the rocks and soil of Ball's work, what you are left with is an inescapable hole in our individual existence, and how we will never truly understand how to fill it.
But then you realize ... the hole isn't meant to be filled. It's just meant to be. And sometimes, working backwards, makes it all the more easier to cope with....more
An incredibly entertaining read that made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions. Not only is this book rich with interesting cultural observations,An incredibly entertaining read that made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions. Not only is this book rich with interesting cultural observations, but the way Jean relates to everything around her is charming and witty. This is the perfect book for any time of year, to be read in any location, and any mindset. An absolute gem. And I can't publish this review without saying that I particularly enjoyed the chapter entitled, "Interesting Things to do in a Bath". :-D...more
The first piece packs a poignant punch. I couldn't stop after reading it, and devoured each piece as if I'd been deprived of impressive words for yearThe first piece packs a poignant punch. I couldn't stop after reading it, and devoured each piece as if I'd been deprived of impressive words for years. Jean is a true wordsmith. She pulls on heartstrings, makes you laugh, and of course, makes you want to savour every word. A must-read to those who appreciate a carefully crafted sentence as much as a good story. A very talented author indeed....more
Though I struggled in the beginning to get into this, I eventually got the hang of its flow and rhythm and thoroughly enjoyed the book. The historicalThough I struggled in the beginning to get into this, I eventually got the hang of its flow and rhythm and thoroughly enjoyed the book. The historical details are extraordinary and fascinating. This is the type of book you need to read slowly to really understand and appreciate. Don't put it down just because it's not as fast-paced as you would typically like. Treat it like a short story collection. Dip in and out. That way you can give the content time to soak in, and you'll realize, just what an incredible history this mother and daughter shared. I highly recommend this for any reader who enjoys epistolary nonfiction and doesn't like to rush their reading....more
Beautiful little book. Includes some fabulous one-liners that will stick with me for a very long time. One of my favourites: Beware of the gap. The gaBeautiful little book. Includes some fabulous one-liners that will stick with me for a very long time. One of my favourites: Beware of the gap. The gap between where you are and where you want to be. Simply thinking of the gap widens it. And you end up falling through....more