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Ceremony Of Innocence: Concerto For Voice And Voices Paperback – November 18, 2008
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About the Author
A poet for over 30 years, Timothy Richardson was originally trained as an educator and psychologist, the background from which his novel, "Ceremony of Innocence", was derived. The strongly metrical language of this novel is an indicator of the author's major focus: poetry. Timothy Richardson's work has impressed some of the finest poets of the 20th century including former U.S. Poet Laureate, Richard Wilbur, Pulitzer Prize winners James Merrill and Anthony Hecht, Guggenheim fellow and MacArthur recipient, Rosanna Warren and Nobel Laureate, Joseph Brodsky among others. Some of Richardson's poems have been published by "The Partisan Review", Harvard Divinity Bulletin and other publications, but more of his work has led to films: eight complete and two in progress. His unique seminar centering on his sonnet cycle, "Laurels", (a Crown of Sonnets based on Michelangelo's fresco, "The Last Judgment") inspired a unique film also called "Laurels” that merges Renaissance art with digital technology and uses film as a visual metaphor for poetry and the art that inspired it. Laurels takes viewers on a multi-media journey into two works of art and, in the process, breaks down barriers to their enjoyment and appreciation. In its endorsement, Maine Public Broadcasting said the film; "enlightens and expands the horizons of our viewers". "The Force of Poetry" captures a Richardson poetry reading and presentation on the meaning, mechanics and significance of poetry. Digital technology is employed to convey traditional and complex poetic forms as they are explained. In its endorsement, Maine Public Broadcasting said; "The effect is to inject life and heartbeat into what is often thought of as an inert, hard-to-read art form, and the result is both educational and entertaining. "The Force of Poetry is available at http://tinyurl.com/crz6xhn A taped presentation about Richardson's epic poem on the inner life of Abraham Lincoln , "Mandala", has been shown on cable channels. Short films of single poems are available on internet sites with a CD of poetry readings by the actor Jeff Flint in progress. www.workingwords.me
Top customer reviews
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"You [the main character] also dwelled on a certain question a lot; the question of what had gone wrong. I mean why were you in a hospital being treated like an incompetent? After all, you came from a good home with a normal upbringing, you went to good schools, you married well, had plenty of money, plenty of friends, all the comforts, and you got promotion after promotion and had risen quite high. So how did you come to a [psychiatric] hospital? It was a question you couldn't answer. It was, as you see now, unanswerable..."
This above is found in this fascinating novel by Timothy V. Richardson. There is no information about Richardson included in the book but an Internet search reveals that he was originally trained as an educator and psychologist but for more than twenty-five years has been a writer and accomplished poet.
This novel contains the internal rambling ruminations of its main character, a patient with a psychopathology or mental disorder, who struggles to satisfactorily answer to himself many, many questions (not just the one posed above). These ruminations blend Richardson's experience in psychology with his experience as a poet and writer.
These internal ruminations are composed with a tension and rhythm of a musical composition called a concerto. One definition of a concerto is that it is a musical work for one or more voices with instrumental accompaniment. Thus, the subtitle of this novel (not indicated on the book's cover but indicated on the novel's second inside title page) is "Concerto for Voice and Voices."
(Note that a concerto is usually divided into three parts or movements and therefore this novel is divided into three movements with each movement having chapters entitled introduction, exposition, development, and coda.)
This novel is not an easy read. This is not because of the writing which is superb and realistically captures the essence of a person with a psychopathology. It is because such people resort to circular reasoning, tend to skip incessantly from topic to topic, have convoluted thinking, etc. Simultaneously, this novel raises issues about mental health and the sometimes indistinct line between sanity and insanity.
Finally, as I implied above, this novel details a psychopathology from a patient's perspective (which makes this book unique). Here is just one of this patient's ruminations:
"People who are crazy aren't out of touch, they're not the ones who have broken from reality. No! They're in touch because seeing the truth puts them in an altered sense of consciousness which no one else can comprehend because they haven't gone through the suffering which brings insight which brings suffering to crazy people who are, therefore, insightful seeing the truth, feeling the truth ever so keenly while the rest steer clear remaining ignorant and happy, but crazy and out of touch because it's not all beneficial being crazy and seeing the truth when you take into account the suffering which cannot be discounted since there's also a selfishness involved which results in gaining understanding on the part of crazy people who are the most selfish of all since they can't share a moment of experience with anyone..."
In conclusion, I found this to be an unforgettable and unique novel where the reader actually enters the mind of a psychiatric patient!! I've never read something so extraordinary!!!
(first published 2008; 3 parts or 15 chapters; main narrative 250 pages)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>
That's one of the most haunting questions of modern society, which can seem all too horribly insane itself. In which case, insanity may well be the only sane response to it. Which brings us to our latest patient, Mr. Wamblie ...
I haven't read anything quite so troubling & compelling as this novel in a long time. It's not light reading, and certainly not for everyone -- but it opens a window on the inner landscape of the disturbed psyche. Except that there may be good reasons for that disturbance, and in fact ignoring the causes of that disturbance is possibly even more disturbed, even though it's "normal."
And here we get to the strength of this monologue, mundane in its everyday details that we all recognize, extraordinary in its presentation of that mundane reality. It's easy to reel off page after page of stream-of-consciousness -- but it's very difficult to do so with grace, precision, and a level of craft so finely tuned that the reader isn't consciously aware of it.
Author Timothy Victor Richardson has subtitled this novel "Concerto for Voice and Voices." This is no pretentious affectation, but a simple statement of fact. He has crafted prose that accurately reflects the circuitous, even obsessive thought patterns of someone struggling to make sense of a world he's discovered to be senseless -- a world that insists on "curing" him for his own good -- or is it more for everyone else's own good?
Not only is the prose crafted with skill, shaped with an inner music & cadence that reveals a remarkably gifted ear, but it speaks in a voice that many readers will recognize as their own at times. I think many thoughtful people draw back from the world on occasion & are startled to suddenly see it as something odd, arbitrary, unreal -- a chaos with artificial meaning overlaid on its seething surface. And for some, like Mr. Wamblie, there's no returning to that formerly meaningful world, because it no longer exists.
As I said, it's not light reading. It'll make you uncomfortable, it might even make you squirm -- but it'll make you think. I was reminded a little of Gertrude Stein & William Carlos Williams, both in its depiction of the modern psyche, and in its prose, which is stripped of detail & ornamental richness, yet possesses a strange, gray, everyday richness of the ordinary. Even the underlying horror is gray, unassuming ... and perhaps that's the most troubling thing of all. If you give yourself over to it, you won't soon forget it!
This fascinating read reveals the inner workings of a man telling his story as only a madman can, bringing insight to a terrifying illness. Timothy Victor Richardson has made it possible to see the world through the mind of a schizophrenic. A real experience.