Rebecca's Reviews > The Size of Our Bed

The Size of Our Bed by Jacqueline Tchakalian
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really liked it
bookshelves: read-via-edelweiss, poetry, bereavement-memoirs

Tchakalian is a poet and visual artist in California. I’m so glad I took a chance on these poems from Red Hen Press. Well-structured and grouped into thematic sections, they are primarily about motherhood, the death of a much-loved husband from cancer, and adjusting to the reality of war. Alliteration and assonance stand in for traditional rhymes. Tchakalian is especially good with colors and flowers, which combine to create memorable metaphors. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Her magnolia skin
a waterfall trembling
the matte of his
a tree’s bark [...]
breathe magenta’s husk
sienna’s grain.
(From “Argument’s Colors”)

My calla lily veins, a bridge
to your memories of mango rind [...]
my thirst green again,
your memories turning
oleander white.
(From “Preparing for Departure”)

A few gently erotic verses (such as “Orgasms after Life” and “Mead”) are also striking. Even the page layout is inventive, with different spacing and alignment and some verses stair-stepping from left to right across the page. I highly recommend this poetry collection, especially if (like me) you love mother–daughter and illness-and-death memoirs.

Related reading:
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander, a poet’s memoir of a husband’s death
Strings Attached by Diane DeCillis, poems rich with color and food imagery
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Reading Progress

May 9, 2015 – Started Reading
May 9, 2015 – Shelved
May 9, 2015 – Shelved as: read-via-edelweiss
May 9, 2015 – Shelved as: poetry
May 12, 2015 – Finished Reading
April 12, 2016 – Shelved as: bereavement-memoirs

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol Love the title as it provokes such thoughts and imagery. Sounds interesting.


Rebecca I certainly recommend it. It's not out until September 15th.


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