Tag Archives: Poetry

MY BEST FRIEND DIED–Poems by Alice Vo Edwards

* Poet provided a copy in return for a fair and honest review.

** There’s currently a Goodreads Giveaway for this book. The deadline is 11:59 on Dec 19, 2016. Check it out HERE

Grief is an exacting teacher.

My Best Friend Died

My Best Friend Died
Alice Vo Edwards learned this early. She was only 16 when her best friend died. No warning. No chance to say goodbye. One day Myriah was there, a comfy fixture of Edwards’ world. The next day she wasn’t. How does a young mind–one just learning what life is–process such loss? At least one adult, a teacher, had an idea–pick up a pen. Edwards took the advice.

I consider grief the most protean of human emotions. Just when you think you’ve pinned it down, isolated it, overcome it…wham!…it pops up in an unexpected form and the most unlikely circumstances. Edwards’ poems capture the ineffable nature of sorrow. They vary in form, length and voice. Some ring out with the wail of a child, uncertain, grappling with unfamiliar emotions and a new craft. Others are more circumspect, studied, philosophical.The emotions range from raw sorrow to confusion, rage, nostalgia and, breaking through the dark, hope.

My favorite is probably the “Unutterable” — a few brief lines crafted with cut-glass control that attempt to give shape to the incomprehensible. Though the poem comes early in the collection, its final lines sum up so much of what follows and drills to the core of what it’s like to lose someone you love:

What is least distinct / cannot be named/ What is clearest is unutterable.

Meet the Author: Christine Burke

Headshot of Christine Burke

Poet Christine Burke

Hi Everyone, I’m Christine Burke, a poet interested in multi-media work such as filmpoems and audio poems, several of my poems are illustrated and I have a filmpoem Cover the Mirrors on Youtube.

My Genre: Poetry

I started writing: when my husband left me for a younger model and I wrote in the middle of  the night when I couldn’t sleep.

The best thing about being a writer is: the new world that’s open to me –learning about poetry; reading poetry; going to literary events and meeting people with similar interests; the whole online process and conversation – I love it all, it’s my indulgence.

My current favorite read: I love re-reading Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds– TS Eliot Prize 2012, Pulitzer Prize 2013. I love Sleekit Cowrin, the digressions, the images, the way I feel as she felt, when reading the whole book not just this one poem  “as if a deck were tilting under me”.

My latest collection LEGACY  has just come out on Kindle.  It’s about relationships, politics,  dreams and love, and various poems on odd subjects that are hard to classify, such as a garden shed!  Click the Amazon link to see inside –  LEGACY

Cover Legacy

 

 

My Amazon author page link

My website is www.christineburkebooks.com

 

 

 

If anyone would like to contact me through the contact page on my website I’ll email you BREAK-UPS SUCK!  FREE!

I haven’t got automatic downloads set up yet so you might have to wait a couple of days …

A Poet Finds Her Voice–Christine Burke

My poetry started life in the wee small hours after my husband left me for a younger model. I couldn’t sleep or think straight and used to write my thoughts down to try to get them out of my head. I suppose it was like screaming on paper.

Headshot of Christine Burke

Poet Christine Burke

The silver lining is that when I moved house years later, I found what I’d written and realised some of it was poetry. I started taking writing holidays and online courses with the aim of publishing – I didn’t want what I’d been through to be for nothing. The best MOOC online course I did was with the University of Pennsylvania led by Al Fireis – Modern Contemporary Poetry – being with thousands of other students learning about poets from Emily Dickinson thru Robert Frost to Sylvia Plath was extraordinary and changed my life. Poetry became something other than therapy for me, it became my new world.

And the writing holidays are amazing too – meeting great writers and being encouraged and inspired by fabulous, fun people from all walks of life who love writing and all have stories to tell. I learned that I have to write a little each day rather than wait for inspiration to strike – exercise my writing muscle – and then the Muses will visit!
The poem I’ve chosen to talk about is the first of my poems that made someone cry. (yes, other poems have done it since then!!!) I thought it might be interesting to some of you. It was my first unintentional attempt at prosody, I’m still learning…

THE FRIDGE
The little light came on,
the only warmth in this cold place.
She reached for sustenance,
hesitated, withdrew
from the two eggs,
the rotting carrots,
and the meal for one –
calorie counted,
past it’s sell-by date.

Once upon a time there was cake, fresh cream;
wine, ginger, Brie,
St. Agur (her favourite)
and Stilton.

Still surprised by the emptiness,
she could have cried for the Stilton.

I suppose it’s obvious that what shocked me even a long time after my husband left was that there was nothing in the fridge. In my head the fridge should have been full for a party or a dinner, as it used to be (no-one has that variety of cheese unless it’s a dinner party!). So when I opened the fridge in a fruitless search for physical and mental sustenance, there was nothing there, and I thought I was ‘past my sell by date’. And I guess this touched some people, maybe they empathised, because it was one of the poems Encarna Dorado Cuenca chose to illustrate for me. It’s amazing how she paints the coldness of the kitchen. You can see some of her illustrations on my website illustration page if you’re interested – I love them all.

My website is www.christineburkebooks.com

If anyone would like to contact me through the contact page on my website I’ll email you BREAK-UPS SUCK! FREE!
I haven’t got automatic downloads set up yet so you might have to wait a couple of days …

With all best wishes, bye for now…
Christine

Bio:

Christine studied languages at school, worked in computing and lived around the world for fifteen years, including three years in the US. She enjoys dog walking, metal detecting and modern jive.  She has indie published six books of poetry and is working on the next one.

Christine’s Amazon Page
Christine’s latest collection is LEGACY

Cover Legacy

 

Review: DARKNESS & DECADENCE

Note: A video version of this review that includes me reading three of Lynn Gerrard’s poems can be seen HERE.

I’ve been a fan of Lynn Gerrard’s The Grumbling Gargoyle blog (and related Facebook page) for nearly two years. I was so excited about this collection. As wonderful as the online content is, it’s a treat to get the poems isolated and really explore them.

Darkness and Decadence: The Grumblings of a Gargoyle

Darkness and Decadence: The Grumblings of a Gargoyle

The poems in this collection may be on the dark side, but they offer a beautiful variety. Some are long and lyrical. Others short and sharp. There’s a wonderful use of rhyme and strong rhythms. Refreshing in an age when many poets wrinkle their nose at rhyme.

Gerrard’s poems explore universal themes: love, loss, missed opportunity. They read well on the page, but they truly shine when read aloud. So much musicality. You feel the words rumbling in your chest as you speak them.

Some of my favorites: “Removal”,”Monster’s Lullaby”, “Heart Attack”, and “Going Home.”

Whether the poems are supernatural in nature, humorous, or serious they all dig past the niceties and reveal the irony at the heart of human life–we are so afraid of death, yet we waste life by being careless with other people, hurtful to ourselves, and blind to the small bright spots available to us even in the hardest of circumstances.

Great collection.

An Uncommon Pleasure: A Review of the film soundtrack BRIGHT STAR

 

While I came to enjoy this soundtrack a great deal, I admit that the unconventional format took me by surprise. Rather than simply giving us the musical score of the movie BRIGHT STAR, this recording combines music, dialogue, and Keats’ poetry, distilling them into a short but moving program. We start with “Negative Capability,” an instrumentally backed conversation between Ben Whishaw (John Keats) and Abbie Cornish (Fanny Brawne) about the nebulous nature of poetry. This piece might also be taken as instruction to the listener about how to approach the rest of the CD–not necessarily with a destination in mind, but in a spirit of expansion and possibility.

The selections that follow demonstrate how melody, speech, and rhythm can come together and create an almost three-dimensional sensory experience that transports the listener INTO the film. I felt like an invisible entity listening in on Keats and Brawne. Particular high points include, “The Human Orchestra,” an amazing vocal arrangement that sends chills down my spine every time I hear it, and actor Ben Whishaw’s readings of Keats’s poems “La Belle Dam Sans Merci” and “Ode to a Nightingale,” understated performances that resonate with emotion.

So, although this soundtrack is not quite what I expected when I decided to purchase it, I am glad that I gave it a chance.