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Meditation on Woman Paperback – December 17, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Deceptively quiet, these meditations are ferocious, deep, cathartic-pouring light on the dark places of the human condition while extracting humor out of the little ironies of daily life. Meditation on Woman is a beautiful book that will prove a sturdy companion for those who are prepared to dig below the surface." ~~David Cole, Publisher, Bay Tree Publishing
 
"Aline Soules' new chapbook, Meditation on Women explores women's realities, dreams, and imaginary worlds. Her fifty-six eloquent prose poems are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, and always creative. Treat yourself to this collection." ~~B. Lynn Goodwin, Managing Editor, Writer Advice, writeradvice.com; You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers (Tate Publishing, 2008)
 
"Fifty-six meditations filtered through the lens of a woman--a dazzling feast from an original mind." ~~Carol Smallwood, Compartments: Poems on Nature, Femininity and Other Realms (Anaphora Literary Press, 2011); Divining the Prime Meridian (BlazeVox, 2012).
 
"Discovering Aline Soules's Meditation on Woman is like chancing upon a long-hidden, primal road map for exploring the profound mystery that is the female spirit. How awesome it is to be invited into the raw complexity of woman's aspirations, failures, and triumphs. Every man who cares about a woman at any level of relationship will come away enriched and grateful." ~~Alfred J. Garrotto, The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story (2011)

About the Author

Aline Soules' work has appeared in journals, e-zines, and anthologies such as The MacGuffin, 100 Words, Literature of the Expanding Frontier, and Variations on the Ordinary. Her books include: Meditation on Woman, published by Anaphora Literary Press in Dec. 2011; and The Size of the World (co-published with The Shape of the Heart), Plain View Press in 2005. Prose poems from Meditation on Woman previously have appeared in Tattoo Highway, Poetry Midwest, Long Story Short, the Newport Review, the Kenyon Review, and others. Poems from her chapbook, Evening Sun, have appeared in such publications as Kaleidowhirl, Reed, Shaking Like a Mountain, and The Houston Literary Review. She earned an M. A. in English, an M.S.L.S. in Library Science, and an MFA in Creative Writing, this last from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her blog: alinesoules.wordpress.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 82 pages
  • Publisher: Anaphora Literary Press (December 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937536130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937536138
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,718,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Meditation on Woman is a collection of fifty-six prose poems to be read slowly, a few at a time, to fully appreciate their impact. Each, simply and economically written, begins with the two words, "A woman."

In the opening work, "The Third Eye," woman catches the cycles of her garden on video--winter cracks the lens, spring splinters it as the cycles continue. "In the end, the lens cracks again, into many parts, facing down, angling up, fractured. New shoots. The gardener's boots. Ants. Blooms. All splinter, like a kaleidoscope. Her eye captures fragments of brown, green, blue, pink, the blinding yellow-white of the summer sun."

"Evolution" recalls the magical-realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende: the blending of what is real and unreal as it relates a woman who grows a tail, senses what animals desire, joins them, and grows a coat of hair like them as winter approaches. A woman's connection to the world recurs in "Far and Near." One woman "gazes out a plane window at fields quilting the landscape thirty-five thousand feet below," while the other "hikes a woodland trail and stares into the underbrush." The first sees the world at a distance: "The roads make squares and rectangles around the fields. Lakes are thumbprints pressed into the land. Rivers squiggle and canals angle in thin blue lines. Tree patches are dark and fuzzy. Little towns clump together; house roofs glint in the sun."

In each poem the poet is seeing herself and in the process, the universal--an activity so simple and yet complex, full of surprises and reflections of wonder. I'm looking forward to Soules' next collection to savor, open my eyes, and enjoy the company of a uniquely gifted poet.
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Format: Paperback
Meditation on Woman is a collection of fifty-six poems to be read slowly, a few at a time, to fully appreciate their impact. Each, simply and economically written, begins with the two words, "A woman." Some of the journals that published a version a few of these reflective poems include: Kenyon Review, The Binnacle, Poetry Midwest.
A recent Poets & Writers featured six articles in a special section from leading writers about Inspiration--the importance of slowing down, making room for contemplation, and the possibilities for discovery. Meditation on Woman supplies readers examples of this in abundance as it turns the ordinary upside down, leaving the reader be they men or women to look at things differently.
The opening work, "The Third Eye", is about a woman catching the cycles of her garden on video--winter cracks the lens, spring splinters it as the cycles continue. Gardening is mentioned in other poems too. The second, "Evolution" recalls the magical-realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende: the blending of what is real and unreal as it relates a woman who grows a tail, senses what animals desire, joins them, growing a coat of hair like them as winter approaches.
Making one's own world is also reflected in "A Question of Balance" where a woman "...owns the river, owns every bird that skims...." In the surprising poem about a woman being roasted on a fire: "And as she turns, her eyes shimmer in tune with the heat and see in every direction. The earth, all motion, spins with her and she with it."
Readers can easily relate to: "A woman is good at guilt. Palpable and breathing, it lives in her house. It lies down and sleeps in her spare bed" and understand the mixed feelings the duality in relationships: "The woman looks at her sister.
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Format: Paperback
More than a book of poems, Meditation on Woman is a book of dreams, some delightful, some both good and bad, some nightmares. The precise vividness of the word images and descriptions of actions form concise narratives of memorable happenings. I marvel at Aline Soules' skill in conveying emotion in detailed sequences of actions while portraying the surroundings so they can be seen in the mind's eye. I especially enjoyed the ironic twists and even surprises of some of the endings.

The everyday fuses with the fantastic by her choice of a matter-of-fact tone that unifies the vary different portrayals in the poems. How real the fantastic seems! The book contains such a wide range of emotion-laden action sequences as well as a very diverse array of situations moving from the grotesque and gory to the tender and beautiful. Humanistic warmth is very evident as is an unflinching gaze on tragic situations. I found bits of explicit sardonic humor and more lie beneath the fantastic surfaces.

The titles are important. Literary skill is particularly evident in Searching, Eden, Pond Life, Sing, and Chill. The subtlety of coming full circle in Pond Life is exquisite. I personally bonded with the woman in Sing for I was silenced for decades by ridicule. Its ending is delicious.
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This exceptional collection of essays that actually are more poetry than prose will touch the hearts (and minds) of everyone who reads them. Not just for the "literati," these insightful gems will be appreciated and treasured by all women who read them. This is truly a remarkable, memorable work.
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