Tag: Books: Poetry

Review: In Search of Duende

Posted 19 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

In Search of Duende
By: Federico Garcia Lorca
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

The notion of “duende”—a demonic earth spirit embodying irrationality, earthiness, and a heightened awareness of death—became a cornerstone of Lorca’s poetics. In Search of Duende gathers Lorca’s writings about the duende and three art forms susceptible to it: dance, music, and the bullfight. A bilingual sampling of Lorca’s poetry is also included, making this an excellent introduction to Lorca’s poetry and prose for American readers.

I had no idea this book existed until I was wandering around the poetry aisles the last time I was at the bookstore. I love the cover of the book too; the minimalist look is absolutely soothing and eye-catching *hearts and stars* Anyway, I had no idea Lorca had delivered a few lectures when he was in New York–which makes total sense, of course–so I thought it was cool that a publishing company had compiled them along with some of his poems.

Are you surprised at all that I really liked this book? It was a fascinating collection of lectures he had delivered accompanied by some of his poems that reinforce some of the points he makes about the Spanish culture around duende and the artistic/cultural scene. Having read all of the his poems, his lectures on duende were quite illuminating, not only about Spanish culture and, to a lesser extent, Spanish and Andalusian identity, but also to his own poetry and why he wrote the way he did, and the steeped history that he worked from and inherited from previous artists and singers and poets. Duende is such a mysterious concept, and yet it’s something so deep and inherent in human experience that it came only be expressed in poetry (which then leads to the next question as to whether contemporary Spanish poets or poets hailing from Andalusia still write with duende infused somewhere in their work). The supplementary poetry nicely reflects the themes and points that Lorca makes in his essays and of course like his poetry, his lectures are quite beautifully written.

Would I recommend In Search of Duende to first-time Lorca readers? Likely not, if only I think you need to be a bit familiar with his poetry to appreciate where he’s coming from in explaining duende and why it’s so important. But this book is an excellent companion piece to his poetry and I highly recommend checking it out if you have read his works before.

Rating: ★★★★★

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

Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 18 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Another day, another mini-batch of book reviews featuring more poetry 😀

La Douleur Exquise
By: J.R. Rogue
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

What happens when you meet
your soul mate at the wrong time?
What happens when you meet
your soul mate but you aren’t theirs?

I picked up this book after seeing it listed as a nominee in the GoodReads Choice Awards in 2016. The book cover was lovely and the term “la douleur exquise” is lovely (see meaning). Plus, I was trying to read more contemporary and self-published poetry after reading a string of classic and translated poetry. The collection was good, can’t say I was blown away from start to finish but there were a few poems that did stand out, namely the early part of the book. Maybe my expectations were a little high picking up this book and being swayed solely by the cover and title, but I’m not saying it was a bad collection; it just didn’t connect with me as much as I thought it would.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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So You Want to Read… (Poetry, Part III)

Posted 17 April, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

Another month, another edition of “So You Want to Read…”! For this month’s edition, like previous years, I’ve decided to focus on Poets, in conjunction/celebration of National Poetry Month. You can see my previous recommendations here and here. As regular readers of my blog know, I’ve been reading a lot of poetry in the past year so this year’s edition has quite the variety of poets to read from 😛 It was actually quite hard to put together this year’s list as I was trying to make the list both eclectic but also accessible.

So without further ado, here’s five poets I recommend checking out (funnily enough I placed them in a sort of chronological order; also, whilst last year featured all male poets, this year’s list features all female poets):

  • Anna Akhmatova — She’s considered one of the greatest Russian poets of the twentieth century (and as a side note, I actually did study her works a bit when I was in university) and a prominent figure in the Russian cultural intelligentsia scene of the time. The topics of the poems varies from love and loneliess to Russia and her experiences during the Second World War. It’s hard to describe but she elevates even the simplest of objects in our lives to a moving artistic rendition. The Everyday Man’s Pocket Poets compilation (is an excellent starting point to reading her works.
  • Sylvia Plath — I had read The Bell Jar (review) years ago but funnily enough had never read her poems until now. I went with Ariel (review) because I’ve seen it referenced to a lot more, and I’m happy to have read this collection first. In retrospect of course it’s sad reading her works knowing she was going to take her life, and her poems reveal the internal struggles she was going through. Her choice in metaphors and allusions are odd and curious, but they lend a uniqueness to her work and her way to approaching topics.
  • Kate Clanchy (see author tag) — I first encountered one of her poems, “Patagonia”, years ago in an anthology book and it remains a favourite of mine because of the interlink between travel/far-off places and love. Her collection Selected Poems (review) is a good place to start if you’ve never read anything by this poet because it takes selections from her three poetry collections. The themes she tackles in her poems range from relationships to childbirth, and her use of imagery and language is different in a way I can’t truly describe, deftly used, I think.
  • Rupi Kaur — You may have seen her collection milk and honey (review) everywhere last year–I certainly did, which was why I ended up picking it up! And the buzz is certainly well-deserved; her poems are raw, and some of the subject matter she addresses are darker, more revealing, eye-opening, and in the end liberating.
  • Lauren Eden — I forgot how I came across her collection Of Yesteryear (review) but both the title and the book cover caught my attention. Her poems are no more than a few lines (personally I prefer shorter poems) but they’re not only lyrical but hits the point–and the feels–home. It’s different from the other poets mentioned on this list but definitely worth checking out for something different.

And that’s my list of poets to check out! Have you read any of these poets’ works? If so, which ones and did you enjoy them? Which poets or poetry books would you recommend? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Review: Of Yesteryear

Posted 13 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Of Yesteryear
By: Lauren Eden
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Of Yesteryear is a collection of poetry that effortlessly transcribes the chaos of the never ending battle between head and heart. In her debut, Lauren Eden’s succinct and beautiful observations of human nature and its gains and losses will lead readers to understand their own journey in love and self discovery – now, and of yesteryear.

I can’t remember how I came across this book but the book cover definitely caught my attention, followed by the title of the collection. After reading a few reviews and reading a few poems on her Instagram, I decided to pick it up 😛

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

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

a.k.a the poetry edition! In retrospect I realised I could’ve strung a few of my poetry book reviews in a mini-review post, but anyway…The following are a whole slew of poetry books I read towards the end of 2016 (and just in time for National Poetry Month 😛 ). Included in this batch are:

If There Is Something to Desire
By: Vera Pavlova
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

I broke your heart. / Now barefoot I tread / on shards.

Such is the elegant simplicity—a whole poem in ten words, vibrating with image and emotion—of the best-selling Russian poet Vera Pavlova. The one hundred poems in this book, her first full-length volume in English, all have the same salty immediacy, as if spoken by a woman who feels that, as the title poem concludes, “If there was nothing to regret, / there was nothing to desire.”

Pavlova’s economy and directness make her delightfully accessible to us in all of the widely ranging topics she covers here: love, both sexual and the love that reaches beyond sex; motherhood; the memories of childhood that continue to feed us; our lives as passionate souls abroad in the world and the fullness of experience that entails. Expertly translated by her husband, Steven Seymour, Pavlova’s poems are highly disciplined miniatures, exhorting us without hesitation: “Enough painkilling, heal. / Enough cajoling, command.”

It is a great pleasure to discover a new Russian poet—one who storms our hearts with pure talent and a seemingly effortless gift for shaping poems.

I had been eyeing this collection of poems for some time, partly because of the book cover; it’s a great choice of title for the collection as well as poem featured as it is one of my favourites *thumbs up* Anyway, this is her first collection translated into English, which is pretty cool, and I enjoyed this collection from start to finish. Her poems are pretty short in general but the topics her poems cover are quite the range: love, sex, family, memory, motherhood, life. There’s nothing else I can really say about this collection except that I highly recommend it if you’re into poetry and/or are looking to read poems in translation 🙂

Rating: ★★★★★

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