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Hourglass Museum Paperback – February 11, 2014
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~ Kathleen Flenniken, Washington State Poet Laureate
From the Author
In this book, I tried to created a paper museum. The book is divided into different exhibits from portraits to a sketchbook of nudes. I allowed art from artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Joseph Cornell, Andy Warhol, and Beauford Delaney to influence my writing. Sometimes I find myself feeling almost overwhelmed with the beauty created by others and this book reflects that as well as the vulnerability (and sometimes unbalance) we may feel while living as artists in the world.
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Top Customer Reviews
Is being creative a luxury? Does creativity matter? What if it doesn't amount to anything? Was it worth what was sacrificed for it? Is one selfish for taking time away from other things to create? (Other MORE IMPORTANT things is what is often said/implied/felt.)
Agodon addresses these questions and more in Hourglass Museum and does so in the most deft investigations of the ways in which artists give themselves to others, and more importantly, the ways they give themselves permission (or not) to lead productive, fulfilling creative lives. These investigations are explored in poems that are a tour of delight in perception and language.
You are the ocean holding the mermaid afloat,
trying to change the world one dolphin at a time."</em>
— from the poem "Souvenir Boxes"</blockquote>
Agodon's poetry explores a variety of themes within <em>Hourglass Museum</em>. As the title suggests, art is an important source of inspiration here (as can also be seen in the long list of notes at the end of the book), with poems referencing great artists such as Frida Kahlo and Andy Warhol. The idea of preservation, via canvass, poem, or as a collection in a museum, of moments captured and held in stasis through artifice and creation are a constant in these poems.
<blockquote><em>"Dark matter angels mingle over oceans
and bubbling cities filled with unopened jars,
all we had were cupboards and cupboards
— from the poem "A Moment Ago, Everything Was Beautiful"</blockquote>
The outward inspiration of art and museums, is drawn into the personal scope of Agodon's personal life, both her inner emotional realm and the outer realm of home and family and relationships. This connection between art and home works well, since as human being we often take memories and put them on the shelves of our minds, we collect pieces of anger and store them for later use, attach joy to simple objects, return to each of them again and again, revisit, and Agodon's poetry reflects this.
<blockquote><em>"I place solitude in a frame on my desk
and call it, The one I love."</em>
— from the poem "Line Forms Here"</blockquote>
She explores a variety of emotional states, including depression and loneliness.Read more ›
Agodon tackles many common poetry themes with uncommon grandeur, making this
book thoroughly fresh. Exploring the intersections of life and art, Hourglass Museum offers a smart look at the creative lifestyle. It’s a personal and honestly expressed journey that is real; complete with life’s rough edges, questions and longing. The text is replete with impressive metaphors.
Many of the poems are of ekphrastic nature which offers great artistic latitude and is certainly a factor in what makes this poetry so fresh and enjoyable.
One of my favorite poems is Self Portrait with Reader. Agodon writes:
We must live with our hearts
in our hands— like Mary.
We must hold the blood-
red heart and not be disappointed
when others look away.
This is what we do with art… This is what Agodon had done with these poems. I encourage you to not look away.
There’s no dessert in the picnic basket/so I swallow time. My mouth full/of hands and numbers. I ask for seconds.
Agodon manages to achieve a playfulness while pulling you under to the poem’s depths. Throughout the book, she mixes melancholy with cheekiness, longing with mock (and, sometimes, real) rebellion.
The book opens with an epigraph by Anais Nin: Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. There are in these poems, many references to escape. There is mention of exits and entrances, doorways and windows and where they might lead: museums, an unlocked cage, a church, or in “Death of a Housewife, Oil on Linen” an entirely new existence: …what she wanted/was to tango with another or a key/to unlock the front door and waltz/herself into another life.
Agodon also considers how our veneration for our heroes can both inspire and shrink us. In “Frida Kahlo Tattoo,” she writes: I wear a temporary tattoo/of Frida Kahlo believing/I can change the world/and if not the world/then a lightbulb, the channel…
Many of the poems are inspired by paintings, and the reader can almost imagine the poems themselves framed and hanging in a museum. The book has four parts, each dealing with an aspect of work in an exhibition, rendering in words the quirky, keen depths of the poet’s vision. In her prologue poem, Agodon invites the reader to …look up and see the madness/organized in the stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quirky, and -- surprise -- poetry that's INTERESTING, that takes the trouble to tell us things we actually might need to know!Published 7 months ago by Marjorie Rommel
This author has a very interesting way to look at different works of art. The poetry she writes is beautiful. I love the word imagery. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Denise
I've read every one of Kelli's poetry books, and have to say this one stands out. She has brought her imagery to a new level in this book. Read morePublished on April 3, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Miss Agodon delivers a masterful and clever collection of poetry - her voice is very mature ... distilled, orderly. These are fun poems that give pause. Read morePublished on March 17, 2014 by Ian Caton
A line from La Magie Noire intrigues and inspires me-
"Imagination: taking madness and giving it a loving home"
It allows me to believe that we can bring imagination and... Read more