Hello fellow readers. I thought it would make sense to combine The Sunday Salon and Weekly Geeks this week. This week's theme has to do with children's books and poetry. A lot of my fellow bloggers have written posts celebrating National Poetry Month. It's not National Poetry Month in my corner of the world, but that's no reason not to join the festivities, right? Plus I love this poster so much:
So to celebrate, this week I bring you mythic, fairy tale and fantastical poetry from around the web. I should start by saying that I always feel horribly self-conscious when writing about poetry (which is silly, I know, and this whole idea that poetry has a special status and is above the reach of mere mortals is part of the reason why so many people don't really read it anymore, and that's a pity, but I just can't help myself), so apologies if this is short and awkward. Which it will be. But at least I'll link to the poems, so you can read them yourself.
I began by reading "Why she howls: A coyote love song" by Kij Johnson, a beautiful poem dealing with desire, impermanence, and of course, coyotes. I absolutely love the imagery:
It was cold"For I Will Consider My Dog, Bertie", also by Kij Johnson, really made my smile. My favourite line is probably this:
the stars sharp as ice shards
in the river-dark sky.
The ground glittered
hard with frost.
For when he sleeps he does so with charm, a tidy hump upon his ordained pillow, else loose-boned and sprawled upon the forbidden couch.If you're an animal lover, read it. If you're not, read it anyway.
After reading these two poems I spend some time exploring the poetry archive at Endicott Studio. There I found "Girl Without Hands" by Margaret Atwood, a poem based on the fairy tale "The Girl Without Hands". Margaret Atwood's writing often takes my breath away, and this was no exception. These two lines in particular seem so distinctively Atwood to me:
Then there's the girl, in the white dress,I guess it's the irony, creeping up unexpectedly. She does that so well. Next I read "'Once Upon A Time,' She Said" by the wonderful Jane Yolen, a poem about fairy tales and storytelling and the unique, precious magic of the imagination. Just take a look at the final lines, and I dare you not to want to read it immediately:
meaning purity, or the failure
to be any colour.
If you ask me,Yes.
I would have to say
all the world's magic
comes directly from the mouth.
Next stop: Goblin Fruit, a quarterly online journal of fantastical poetry. There I read "The Ballad of All the Things I Might Have Written" by Catherynne M. Valente. I have to confess that I have spend the past few years a little afraid that I wouldn't like Catherynne M. Valente, even though I want to like her and her Orphan Tales sound just like my kind of thing. And this because I remember not liking a short story of hers a long time ago. But I can't even remember what short story it was anymore, and this poem I certainly do like. I love the way she words things, I love the imagery, and I love the irony:
Naked"Donkeyskin" by Midori Snyder is based on the fairy tale of the same title, and like the fairy tale, it's raw and painful and beautiful. I cannot pick a favourite line, so I'll just urge you to read the whole thing.
she looked cat-shrewd at me through weedy strands
of mint-stitched hair, and said in a voice
like the wind through a lunar crater:
"Why do you write such long poems?"
Finally, Goblin Fruit inspired me to re-read what is perhaps the greatest fantastical poem of them all: "Goblin Market" by Christina Rossetti.
Illustrations by Arthur Rackman and Warwick Goble
I love it. I love the playfulness of the language, I love the sensuousness, I love how deep down it's serious and dark. I love the rhythm, the imagery, and the way it defies gender roles. I love how daring it was for its time. And I love this audio version, which really makes the language come to life.
Also, when looking for Arthur Rackman's illustrations of "Goblin Market", I came across this illusrated version by John Bolton. Wow. Simply wow.
Time to announce the winners of my blogging anniversary giveaway: Memory wins a book of her choice that I have posted about in the past two years. Memory is currently fighting an epic battle with her TBR pile, so I almost feel bad to be adding to it, but...free book! Those are welcome, right? As for the Mysterious Awesome Package, it goes to Kailana! Congratulations to you both. I'll get in touch with you via e-mail for the details.
And now for something completely awesome: Renay is organizing a YA Book tournament for less well-known books. This is the perfect way to discover great YA books we probably have never heard of before. To go through with it, Renay needs help: people willing to suggest books, to be judges, to help with organizational tasks, or to just spread the word. Interested in helping? Just click the link for details.