Genre: Poetry

Waiting on Wednesday – Claude Before Time and Space: Poems by Claudia Emerson

November 29, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Claude Before Time and Space: Poems by Claudia EmersonClaude Before Time and Space: Poems by Claudia Emerson
Published by LSU Press on February 26th 2018
Pages: 80
Genres: Poetry
Format: Paperback
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The final complete collection from Pulitzer Prize winning poet Claudia Emerson demonstrates a poet in the throes of experimentation as she quietly but fiercely explores the subjugation of mortality and time.

Divided into three parts, the first section of Claude Before Space and Time uses rural, small-town southern settings to reflect on memory, the self, and relationships. The following section then unfolds into experimental forms that explore historical figures--from an early naturalist and writer who raised her children in poverty to a small-town doctor from the early 20th century. The collection concludes with "Claude poems,"-- after the poet's father-- which embrace a colloquial tone and round out this illuminating body of work

About Claudia Emerson

Claudia Emerson was an American poet. She won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection Late Wife, and was named the Poet Laureate of Virginia by then-Governor Tim Kaine in 2008.

I absolutely adored Late Wife and it’s been so hard to find copies of her other collections. This is being published posthumously but I’m still eager to read it.


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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Poetry Review – the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

December 16, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2016 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Poetry Review – the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelacethe princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on February 14th 2017
Pages: 208
Genres: Poetry
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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one-star

the princess saves herself in this one is a collection of poetry about resilience. It is about writing your own ending.

From Amanda Lovelace, a poetry collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. The first three sections piece together the life of the author while the final section serves as a note to the reader. This moving book explores love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration.

the princess saves herself in this one first caught my eye when it popped up on the Goodreads Choice Awards as a nominee for Poetry. It has a catchy title, the summary describes it as exploring “life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations”, and a bunch of people were tagging it as feminism. And then it won! Honestly, I was just glad that Leav didn’t win with her bullshit excuse for poetry and Lovelace beat her by a landslide.

I was a bit skeptical though. 22 thousand votes… there aren’t even 4 thousand ratings for it on Goodreads. Clearly the majority of people were voting for it based on the title alone, because as I’ve admitted… it’s catchy. Plus, Poetry seems to be a dying art in this day and age. Because Lovelace and Leav both beat out Neruda, and come on… Neruda is a poetry god. Regardless, I was readying myself to shell out the $7.59 to get this on Kindle but halle-fucking-lujah it popped up on Netgalley as a Read Now and I didn’t have to later rage about wasted money. There is clearly an intended audience for this title, most likely individuals that don’t often read poetry, but this was not my cup of tea.

There is unmistakable emotion behind each of these… vignettes (as I feel they’re more appropriately termed) the problem is that from a readers perspective it lacks the intended emotional punch. They’re simple and direct but are lacking a much needed refinement and read overly angsty, much like how I feel about Leav’s collections that I’ve read (Love & Misadventure and The Universe of Us). Honestly though, is this an Andrews McMeel Publishing thing? There was the occasional one that wasn’t too awful, however, the majority of these seemed to rely on fancy formatting and excessive use of the enter key.

I’m sorry… but that is not a poem. It’s a fragment, a snippet, a random thought. This was undoubtedly the result of an outpouring of emotion from Lovelace and as much as I hate to bash something that someone has poured their heart and soul into, this was just not good.

Regardless of what is being written about, poetry should evoke emotion and leave you reveling in the beauty of language. If you love your angst, then this is for you but I’m going to go read some Cummings now.

On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea by Pablo Neruda
Selected Poems by E.E. Cummings
Crush by Richard Siken

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Poetry Review – The Universe of Us by Lang Leav

September 3, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2016 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Poetry Review – The Universe of Us by Lang LeavThe Universe of Us by Lang Leav
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on October 4th 2016
Pages: 240
Genres: Romance, Poetry
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Love & Misadventure

two-stars

International best-selling author of Love & Misadventure, Lullabies (Goodreads Readers Choice Award), and Memories Lang Leav presents a completely new collection of poetry with a celestial theme in The Universe of Us.

Planets, stars, and constellations feature prominently in this beautiful, original poetry collection from Lang Leav. Inspired by the wonders of the universe, the best-selling poetess writes about love and loss, hope and hurt, being lost and found. Lang's poetry encompasses the breadth of emotions we all experience and evokes universal feelings with her skillfully crafted words.

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Lang Leav has become extremely popular with her poetry collections ever since her debut collection Love & Misadventure. Misadventure was voted second in the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2013 (beat out by Tolkien), Lullabies, her second poetry collection, actually won the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards, and her third collection, Memories, was once again second place in the 2015 Awards. Clearly, she’s popular and she’s consistently hitting the mark with her targeted audience. Unfortunately, I am not a part of that audience, and I definitely do not see how her words manage to provoke such a euphoric state. I have admittedly only read Leav’s debut poetry collection, Love & Misadventure. The poems rhymed to an excessive degree, they weren’t particularly moving, and there was even one about flossing. FLOSSING. Yet, as I already stated, her popularity never faltered. I saw the upcoming release of The Universe of Us and thought that I really should give her another shot because I kept thinking it possible that she had gotten better and her writing could be something I’d be able to appreciate along with the masses.

Despite my preconceived notions, I still tried to go into this with an open mind. And at first, I think I was actually enjoying myself. Naturally, I thought I had a fever, but I figured there could be a possibility that it was a more evolved collection and that I wouldn’t have to read anything about flossing. The flossing one really bothered me, folks.

There were also several pieces of her artwork included for an added flair, except I really have no clue what the fuck is going on in this one. I think she’s setting the boat on fire with a magnifying glass? Honestly, I have no fucking clue. Regardless of the “meaning”, she does have some lovely pieces to admire. And there are actually some lovely poems as well, the only problem is they are few and far between. Leav consistently falls back on her excessive rhyming in order to drive the point that this is a poem, people, bask in its glory. Okay, she doesn’t actually say that but rhyming is not a prerequisite of poetry but it’s a common trend in her work. And then there are the ones that aren’t poetry, some are just declarative statements, and others are nothing more than a simple conversation.

To me, this just doesn’t strike me as anything unique or requiring any sort of special skill. It felt like nothing more than filler. While there were a few that even I could appreciate, the vast majority of these still failed to impress me and didn’t help me understand the reason for her ongoing popularity. I feel these poems are targeted to the type of individuals that have always said they don’t like poetry. Reading this and loving it won’t make you a fan of poetry though because while Leav may have some grasp on how to combine words to make something sound beautiful, there really isn’t any sort of depth. There’s nothing particularly profound or complex and if that manages to work for you, great, but I’m going to go read some Plath now.

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Poetry Review – Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav

January 19, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 7 Comments

Poetry Review – Love & Misadventure by Lang LeavLove & Misadventure by Lang Leav
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on August 20th 2013
Pages: 178
Genres: Contemporary, Poetry, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: The Universe of Us

two-stars

Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist. Awarded a coveted Churchill Fellowship, her work expresses the intricacies of love and loss. Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully conceived, Love and Misadventure will take you on a rollercoaster ride through an ill-fated love affair- from the initial butterflies to the soaring heights- through to the devastating plunge. Lang Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.

This poetry collection was brought to my attention when it popped up as a Nominee for the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Poetry. I was intrigued. Then it placed 2nd, getting beat out by J.R.R. Tolkien, and I was eager to get this. Thankfully my library had a copy because $9.99 for the kindle version and it’s only 78 pages? No thanks. But I wanted this very much after seeing it beat out Mary Oliver, which means Love & Misadventure HAS to be impressive, right? Except this was like sappy teenage love poems. Emo love poems. If the Lifetime channel started producing poetry collections. Really bad, rejected Hallmark cards. My single favorite of the bunch?

‘Do you know what it is like,
to lie in bed awake;
with thoughts to haunt
you every night,
of all your past mistakes.

Knowing sleep will set it right –
if you were not to wake.’

That is not a bad poem at all.

‘He makes me turn
he makes me toss;
his words mean mine
are at a loss.

He makes me blush!

He makes me want
to brush and floss.’

 And that one is not. Sign of a good love? If he inspires me to keep up on my dental hygiene would not be a personal sign for me.

All of the poems in this collection are simplistic (and excessively rhyme-y) but while only a couple were beautifully written, I found the rest of them to be juvenile, immature and lacking any sort of emotional depth which is exactly what I would expect with a collection of love poetry. I found the author’s personal artwork to be a lovely addition to the overall whimsical feel of the book though.

Love & Misadventure is going to be the perfect collection for those that aren’t typically interested in poetry. Because this isn’t poetry. It’s a collection of childish rhymes. Or maybe childish poetry. Either way, I failed to fully appreciate this because I like my poetry with some depth and complexity that leaves me pondering and this collection was completely lacking in that regards.

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Early Review – Tales of the Macabre by Edgar Allan Poe, Illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe

October 26, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Tales of the Macabre by Edgar Allan Poe, Illustrated by Benjamin LacombeTales of the Macabre by Benjamin Lacombe (Illustrator), Edgar Allan Poe
Published by Archaia Entertainment on November 27th 2012
Pages: 224
Genres: Poetry
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: The Fall of the House of Usher, The Raven

five-stars

 

A luxurious edition of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s best works, lavishly illustrated with macabre style by Benjamin Lacombe. From The Black Cat and the Tell Tale Heart to The Fall of the House of Usher, along with Charles Baudelaire’s essay on Poe’s life and works.

 

 

The cover of this collection caught my eye on Netgalley and I actually wanted to check it out before I even knew that Poe was involved. Once I knew that though, I was sold. This was a fantastic collection of macabre stories from the illustrious Edgar Allan Poe. Stories included are: Berenice, The Black Cat, The Island of the Fay, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Oval Portrait, Morella, and Ligeia. This was a real treat for me as I hadn’t read any of these except for The Fall of the House of Usher. There was also an essay written by Charles Baudelaire on Poe’s life and works. In addition to these short stories there are fantastic illustrations from Benjamin Lacombe that (if possible) managed to make the stories even creepier. This is one collection that I would love to own. I loved the illustrations and love Poe, it’s a fantastic combination.

The fact that Benjamin is a fan of Tim Burton is definitely evident in his personal works. You can even find a depiction of Edward Scissorhands he’s done which I love. I highly recommend checking out his website, it’s is well worth the visit to check out his other works. Amazing, to say the least.

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Poetry Review – Love Songs by Sara Teasdale

December 30, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Poetry Review – Love Songs by Sara TeasdaleLove Songs by Sara Teasdale
Published by Kessinger Publishing on May 16th 2012 (first published 1917)
Pages: 50
Genres: Poetry
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
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five-stars

1928. Teasdale's work has always been characterized by its simplicity and clarity, her use of classical forms, and her passionate and romantic subject matter. In 1918, she won the Columbia University Poetry Society Prize (which became the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry) and the Poetry Society of America Prize for Love Songs. She later committed suicide. In addition to new poems, this book contains lyrics taken from Rivers to the Sea, Helen of Troy and Other Poems, and one or two from an earlier volume. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.

Sara Teasdale wrote Love Songs in 1917 and received 3 awards for it: the Columbia University Poetry Society prize, the 1918 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the annual prize of the Poetry Society of America. It’s a beautiful collection of poetry that I’m so thankful to have stumbled upon.

My absolute favorite:

“I Am Not Yours”

I am not yours, not lost in you, Not lost, although I long to be Lost as a candle lit at noon, Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still A spirit beautiful and bright, Yet I am I, who long to be Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love–put out My senses, leave me deaf and blind, Swept by the tempest of your love, A taper in a rushing wind.

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Short Story Review – The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

November 11, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short Stories 0 Comments

Short Story Review – The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan PoeThe Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
Published by Public Domain on September 1839
Pages: 28
Genres: Classics, Poetry
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
Amazon
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Also by this author: The Raven, Tales of the Macabre

three-stars

Roderick Usher is ill, but not due to any normal causes. When the narrator of the story arrives at the House of Usher, he finds that all is not well in the old ancestral home. The house itself appears to be almost alive, and the illness of Madeline, Roderick's sister, is not all it seems.

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe is a classic short story first in 1839, and was memorably adapted for film by Roger Corman in 1960.

This unique edition includes an original essay on the ‘Curious Quirks in the Early Life of Edgar Allan Poe’ by J. S. Williams.

The Fall of the House of Usher is in the opinion of many scholars Poe's most famous work of prose.This unsettling macabre work is viewed as a masterpiece of American Gothic literature. Indeed, as in many of his tales, Poe borrows much from the Gothic tradition. Still, as G. R. Thomson writes in his Introduction to Great Short Works of Edgar Allan Poe: "the tale has long been hailed as a masterpiece of Gothic horror; it is also a masterpiece of dramatic irony and structural symbolism."

The Fall of the House of Usher has also been criticized for being too formulaic. Poe was criticized for following his own patterns established in works like Morella and Ligeia using stock characters in stock scenes and situations. Repetitive themes like an unidentifiable disease, madness, and resurrection are also criticized. However, there is speculation that Poe used a real-life incident as the basis for his story: the entombment of two lovers at Usher House in Boston, whose bodies were discovered when the house was demolished in 1800.

Scholars speculate that Poe, who was an influence on Herman Melville, inspired the character of Ahab in Melville's novel Moby-Dick. John McAleer maintained that the idea for "objectifying Ahab's flawed character" came from the "evocative force" of Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. In both Ahab and the house of Usher, the appearance of fundamental soundness is visibly flawed — by Ahab's livid scar, and by the fissure in the masonry of Usher.

And the award for the longest run-on sentence that still manages to somewhat make sense goes to… yes, you, Edgar. You, my friend, know how to use those punctuation’s to their fullest potential and then some. You even manage to use dashes like it’s nobody’s business.

And now for the winning sentence…
*deep breathe*

“It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of blank and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled luster by the dwelling, and gazed down — but with a shudder even more thrilling than before — upon the remodeled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.”

*gasp*

Holy criminy.

Overall an odd story that requires much interpretation because at face value it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. Yet… I’m oddly intrigued at his writing style and will definitely be seeking out more of his work in the future.

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