Author: Jade Kennedy
Genre: Fiction (Poetry / Mythic / Virginia Woolf / Mothers / Holidays)
Publisher/Publication Date: Valley Press (5/31/2012)
Source: The author.
Rating: Liked a great deal.
Did I finish?: I did, in one evening, sucked in.
One-sentence summary: Twenty-one poems touching on childhood, Halloween, fairy tale landscapes, history, and favored books.
Reading Challenges: Dive Into Poetry, E-book
Do I like the cover?: I do -- I wish it was a print I could frame on my walls! It reminds me of the opening of her poem 'Silver Threads': When those silver threads weave/as soft and tender as white starlight/curling in tendrils through and within...
First line: Once upon a barren night/when the starless sky was as black as black had always been/and the sea was restless, forever listless/the trees breathed within the dark/their branches stretching and twisting/growing and snapping/searching for the amber moon, always elusive. -- from 'Darkness'
Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy if you can -- it's only available on Kindle at the moment -- or, if you're interested and would consider reviewing it, Jade Kennedy has said she would welcome any reader's request for a PDF version. (You can reach her at jadelizzie85 at hotmail.com)
Why did I get this book?: I was intrigued by the poem Kennedy included with her review request.
Review: I picked up this volume of poetry one night after work, intending to just thumb through the offerings and see what the vibe was like; and then it was bedtime, and I had devoured the entire volume.
Suffering through this everlasting respiratory and sinus infection, I haven't been feeling the most clear-headed and focused. Sometimes, I admit, poetry can feel a bit obscure for my tastes -- I worry I'm 'missing' something -- but what I love about poetry is the snapshot of sensory detail, magic, and emotion that comes through with a finely crafted poem.
On her website, Kennedy describes this volume as "a blend of dark, light, spiritual and a hint of madness," and that's precisely what she offers. Kennedy's volume had the kind of dreamy language and moody, almost fairy tale-like elements that I'm drawn to -- without being unmoored by wild fantasy. Touching upon the experiences of childhood, first love, favorite holidays and books, the inspiration from a historic landscape, and the stressors of every day life, Kennedy's poems are brief breaths of experiences familiar and alien.
The lies I told my Mother
I found a box of lies I told my Mother,
one lost summer
Bright and golden August sunshine
spilled across the wooden floorboards.
White wild flowers sprung up between the cracks.
The smell of orange juice was almost tangible.
The lies laid before me,
scattered like stars
small and innocent, childlike.
The shame that lay beside them
had engulfed and consumed.
I heard my Mother's voice whisper,
'Leave that which scars the spirit to fade beneath the dust'
While I enjoyed all the poems, there were some standouts, like 'Orlando', which was inspired by Woolf's novel and the film; 'Yorvik', about the area of northern England once controlled by Danish Vikings; and 'The Crows', which felt like the opening of a deliciously creepy movie I really want to see. (It didn't hurt that it ended with the phrase my wife and I have on our wedding rings, 'Vous et nul autre'.)
Since my initial inhalation of this volume, I've gone back to it twice, trying the poems on a little more slowly, and they stand up to rereading and mulling and chewing and reading-aloud-to-my-wife-while-she-brushes-her-teeth well. They're grounded enough that I feel like I 'get' them, but with enough imaginative twists of language that I can invent my own deeper meanings.
For those curious, and willing to post a review somewhere, Kennedy will send readers a PDF of this volume. You can contact her through her website.