Tag: Books: Poetry

Review: Ariel

Posted 10 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Sylvia Plath
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

The poems in Sylvia Plath’s Ariel, including many of her best-known such as ‘Lady Lazarus’, ‘Daddy’, ‘Edge’ and ‘Paralytic’, were all written between the publication in 1960 of Plath’s first book, The Colossus, and her death in 1963

I’ve read her novel The Bell Jar (review) years ago but oddly enough never got around to her poetry. I was sort of mulling over the poetry section at the bookstore a few weeks ago and decided to finally read some poetry by her. Again, it took a bit of contemplating as I wasn’t sure which collection to start with…some were suggesting new readers start with Colossus, others said Ariel. I decided in the end to go with Ariel as I seem to see it referenced more, and this edition was very pretty 😉

In retrospect, knowing what she was going through and her biography, her poems take on a particular depth, revealing much of the turmoil she was going through, the thoughts of death and discomfort that she was thinking and feeling. Poems about being a woman locked into taking a particular role to poems about her time in the hospital and her depression, these poems are visceral, strange at times, detached at times, but telling. I say strange at times because…it’s hard to explain unless you read quite a bit of poetry but some of the metaphors and illusions she touches on are odd ones, images I never thought of using in a poem. There are certain images that she likes to use over and over, like poppies and bees.

I’m trying to think if there’s a particular poem that was my favourite from this collection…”Daddy” was a haunting one, as was “Sheep in Fog” (some of my favourite lines came from that one), “Tulips” and “The Moon and the Yew Tree.” All in all I really enjoyed reading Sylvia Plath’s Ariel and am keen to pick up her other collected poems at some point.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order this book from the Book Depository

Review: No Matter the Wreckage

Posted 9 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

No Matter the Wreckage
By: Sarah Kay
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Following the success of her breakout poem, “B,” Sarah Kay, in collaboration with illustrator Sophia Janowitz, releases her debut collection of poetry featuring work from the first decade of her career. No Matter the Wreckage presents readers with new and beloved poetry that showcases Kay’s talent for celebrating family, love, travel, and unlikely romance between inanimate objects (“The Toothbrush to the Bicycle Tire”). Both fresh and wise, Kay’s poetry allows readers to join her on the journey of discovering herself and the world around her. It is an honest and powerful collection.

Moving along in my poetry binge mood last year, I picked up this collection. I had no idea she was pretty big online, I remember seeing this book in passing last year or the year before during the Goodreads awards, but I ended up contemplating–and then picking up–this book after pondering over how pretty the book cover is and seeing a lot of positive reviews about this. My poetry reading has focused mostly on the classics to date, so I was keen to check out more contemporary poetry books and poets and this seemed perfect.

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Review: Christina Rossetti – Poems

Posted 7 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Poems: Rossetti
By: Christina Rossetti
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Poems: Rossetti contains a full selection of Rossetti’s work, including her lyric poems, dramatic and narrative poems, rhymes and riddles, sonnet sequences, prayers and meditations, and an index of first lines.

I read her poems a few years ago when I started venturing into poetry and didn’t think too much of it at the time. I decided to re-visit her works again after coming across her poem again somewhere (I forgot where now, to be honest), picking up her collected poems published by Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets (very pretty collection, I should add).

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Review: Selected Poems, 1923 – 1958

Posted 6 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Selected Poems, 1923 – 1958
By: e.e. cummings
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

This selection made by E.E. Cummings himself from eleven books of poems constitutes a comprehensive introduction to his work.

A bit OT but it’s strange that whilst this collection is pretty comprehensive in that the poet himself selected the poems that went into this collection, I can’t find a decent book blurb of this book online (and no, I don’t have time to type whatever was in the interior book flap of the book 😛 ). Anyway, I’ve been meaning to pick up a collection by E.E. Cummings; he’s of course known for the poem “i carry your heart with me” but I was curious to read how his other poems were like. I suppose I didn’t pick up his poems sooner because I also knew that he was qute experimental with his prose and structure; again looking at “i carry your heart with me” he’s got weird spacing, use of parentheses and other symbols here and there, etc.

Well, suffice to say the rest of his poems are just as experimental, in some poems more so than others. I mean, some of the poems were downright weird, the words written in syntax and sound instead of the way they were properly spelled at times. I enjoyed his earlier poems though perhaps more than his latter poems (except “i carry your heart with me” which remains my favourite by him), varied as they are from poems about his love to poems about humanity and about this person and that. Would I recommend him to the casual poetry reader or first-time poetry readers? Not really, just because they are more experimental and sometimes it is a bit harder to get the gist of what he’s expressing in his poems, but I’m glad I did get around to reading them as they are different and were interesting to read.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order this book from the Book Depository

Review: The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun

Posted 17 February, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 5 Comments

The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun is a poem of 508 lines, written by J. R. R. Tolkien in 1930 and published in Welsh Review in December, 1945 (vol. IV, No, 4).

Aotrou and Itroun are Breton words for “lord” and “lady”. The poem is modelled on the genre of the “Breton lay” popular in Middle English literature of the 12th century, and it explores the conflict of heroic or chivalric values and Christianity, and their relation to the institution of marriage.

A major source for the poem has been identified as the Breton song ‘Le Seigneur Nann et la Fee’, which Tolkien probably knew through Wimberly’s Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads (1928).

Honestly, I had no idea that this book was coming out until it was mentioned in passing somewhere either on Twitter or on Goodreads (and omg did I add that book so fast onto my wishlist). Having found this poem he wrote amongst his notes, does it warrant a whole book about it? Ehh, like previous books before it (Beowulf (review) and The Fall of Arthur (review) spring to mind), probably not, but whatever, it’s something by Tolkien 😛 Not to mention it staved over my wait for Beren and Luthien coming out in 2017 🙂

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