BLUETS by Maggie Nelson
(Wave Books, 2009)
BLUETS by Maggie Nelson
Flash Book Review No. 70: It started with a fascination for any trinket that is blue. And it turned out to be a total embrace of, and an uncompromising abiding by, a "blue world". Nelson's rigorous research, and her enthusiasm on poetry, pop culture, philosophy and theology, as well as her willingness to convey the blue devils and blue loves in her personal life, have made Bluets (Wave Books, 2009) a magnificent work. This memoir has produced innumerable insights, with the author's thoughts on life and romance interspersed by narratives and quotations, launching this as a borderline between a novel of ideas - in the likeness of Milan Kundera, Antoine Saint de-Exupery and Julian Barnes - and ars poetica in numbered notes. From citing historical figures and events where blue was operative in their existence up to paying homage to a quadriplegic friend's perspectives on pleasure and pain, this book has made itself one of "the ones" I would never forget. I was seduced by the book's structure of thought and the author's brutal honesty on her longing for a lost lover plus her indescribable regard for the color she has always believed as "the color of the universe".
LOOK by Solmaz Sharif
Flash Book Review No. 69: The reminiscence of loss, after the numerous bombings in a war-torn country and the evils of powers-that-be over a hemisphere devoid of independence and solidarity, is energized by the unpretentious lyricism of Solmaz Sharif in Look (Graywolf Press, 2016). As if a poeticized autobiography or fragments of a documentary longs for fruition, each poem endeavors to resemble a haunting reality: a bullet not on crevices but on childish bruises. And photographs of spilled blood and eyes wide open, if not letters undelivered, were imagined by a reader aware of postmodern treatment of language, imagery triggered by disruption of utterance and distortion of syntax, with the least intention of confusing text with its explications and interpretations. The intended unity of themes, with the varying gravity on relevance, has made this collection nearing an epic, a collective history in verse delivered by a personal voice.
Here's a sample poem, excerpted from "Personal Effects":
I want to share a poem I wrote a few months ago, as I am a fan of war-themed fictions and memoirs:
Inconsistencies of Time
Remnant is a heap of the old times:
twigs trampled on earth, as if rage
cut a tree into despairing fragments,
as if this wilderness of clay waited
so long for crumbs of drought to fall.
Silently. Where does the sun rise?
A cosmic fist dragging creatures from
their roots, from the halted singing of
elders and impetuous listeners, the eye
of a storm scanned the endpoint of
vanity. A fist for an eye? When will
amputated hands reconnect with lost
unity? And the woodpeckers' rhythm
is the only audible thing. Autumn leaves
dipped in crimson, this is the final image
of a perfect storm. Exclusively. For
the felt and seen, the licked, the nipped.
Tunnel song invites the attention,
rescuers listen for anything that cracks
and murmurs. I hummed what words
could never contain, I gripped this chance
of a corrosive pipe. I searched for light.
The secret of a thing is a shadow,
produced by the rummaging act, fingers
tracing the insignia of a detonated bomb.
This is the storm, no downpour but
the great expanse of bleakness, whatever
that is. The song of the mind continues.
Planes made out of the last newsprint
detailing the perfect storm, sojourning
the sight: hiding fellows, I know for sure.
I'm conversing with the sun, clouds gone,
only the panorama of dust, of lost loves.
Since 2016, Aloysiusi Polintan has worked as a Senior High School Principal in Divina Pastora College. He started scribbling poems and essays when he was 17 years old. These poems are still kept in a notebook and wait to be revised for future publication. This notebook will be revived and will give birth to language already "lived." That is why his blog is named "Renaissance of a Notebook," a blog of poems, personal and academic essays, and flash movie reviews. His book reviews, which are published and featured in The Halo-Halo Review and Galatea Resurrects, are also to be found on the blog, under the series title "Mesmerized." He believes that the ability to judge or critique a literary piece starts with the reader's being moved and mesmerized by the artful arrangement of words articulating some longing for freedom and individuality. He's now working on a manuscript of 50 poems, with a working title of Brittle Sounds. He's 24 years old, living in Nueva Ecija.