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Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral (Pitt Poetry Series) Paperback – November 25, 2012
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“Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral uncovers the mysteries of girlhood in haunting tableaus and synesthesiac encounters with the past and then gradually moves us into the domestic present. The death of a father and remarriage of a mother, a complicated relationship with a brother, seen through a child’s eyes; a house stoppered like a bottle where she sits alone in the quiet aftermath. Strange in that way all art is strange, light come to light, but always a palpable darkness riding beneath; a mature lyrical voice translating memory’s turbulent, wordless world.”
“Laura Read’s plain style is anything but plain. Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral is the story of women and the story of what they leave behind—jars of mayonnaise, a memory of a trip to Coney Island, a toughness in their daughters. Her poetry is grounded without denying its citizens those spare and gorgeous vaults of the soul.”
“These poems have intelligent humor and an energy that moves the poem without effort. She sees the world with a stable view and a happy force even when dealing with illness and death. . . . I love her writing, and make the wish that she remain as unselfconscious in the future as she is today . . . Read takes the same ath we all take and makes it feel like no one else’s. This is a tender balance, making the reader feel at home while also being led to surprise.”
“’Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral’ offers no easy-to-follow directions for dealing with the inevitable . . . But Read’s poems, with their subtle details, resonant images, and skilled storytelling, affirm for us that we do have our memories. The ones who birthed us and the ones we birth will one day die. But we all get to be part of this miraculous experience.”
About the Author
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 0822962152
- ISBN-13 : 978-0822962151
- Paperback : 104 pages
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Publisher : University of Pittsburgh Press; 1st Edition (November 25, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,667,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Read excels in setting. The locations in her poems take on the depth and dimensions of fully fleshed characters. She captures more than just the essence of a place. Having been to some of the locales featured in her poems, I find her descriptive prowess downright eerie in its perfection.
Read's speakers are imbued with a paradoxical flair of naïve wisdom that leaps from the page and pierces the innermost chambers of the reader's heart. The speakers range from little girls to women, all of whom eagerly whisper their secrets and desires in the reader's ear as if you were their long lost childhood bosom buddy. This collection will easily pull you back for a second and third read. With each re-reading, I discovered another layer of nuanced detail. Always enchanting, Read has produced a body of poetry that delights and intimately engages the reader, leaving you warmly satisfied, yet longing for more.
After reading novel of poems, I would give Laura Read an overall rating of 5 stars. Being one who doesn't have a particular interest in poetry, Read's novel kept me involved in her poetry and I wanted to read on. The encompassing story of losing her father and her life after was embedded somehow into each poem which made it even more intriguing. I also enjoyed Read's ability to keep her poems personal to the speaker's life. The portrayal of a vast range of emotions kept me invested in each one of the poems.
Read splits her novel up into three parts. Part one focuses on the loss of her father and the possible loss of her mother. Part two describes the travel she takes after her father's death, both emotionally and physically. Part three then reveals the coping she goes through with her brother. Each part of her novel depicts a different time in her life and the difficulties she is facing with her father's death and moving to a new house.
Laura Read illustrates her various situations with leaving a lot of her story up to the reader to interpret. When reading the poems, I couldn't figure out if Laura Reader was the speaker or not. Read leaves the reader to decide who the speaker is. In some ways I want to if Read is writing from personal experience but the fact that the reader gets to decide is stimulating. You follow the character throughout the story and become personally invested in who the character has become. Personally, I would like to know if Read is the speaker from the beginning.
The fact that Read's novel is voiced through various speakers giving the main character advice and bits of information allows the reader to see the main character's growth as she tries to accept the death of her father. Coming from different perspectives on the death of her father, the reader is once again able to connect with the constant struggles and battle Read must deal with to find happiness again.
Read's ability to voice her experiences in these poems is fascinating. Read is a brilliant poet and I would definitely recommend this novel.
The title in itself Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral presents a dark preset concerning the content that which the compilation will hold. Throughout the entirety of the work, I attempted at connecting the title and perhaps the symbolism surrounding it, towards the collection of poems. With such a prominent theme of death and grieving, the connection to the funeral portion of the title was made easy.
However, I significantly felt I gained a sense of understanding for the author’s intentions with the title after reading the poem “Cecilia”. This poem introduced the speaker’s struggle with comforting her mother, and dealing with grief herself, as her grandma passed away. This is the second instance of the speaker dealing with death throughout the work, as of course the other instance was that of the father’s passing. It appears as if the speaker possessed close relationships with her grandma and as well her father, both people who passed away. In relation to the title of the work, I believed the entire compilation to be an expelling of grief for the author/speaker.
The compilation seemed as if it was the account of how one deals with loss of a loved one/loved ones. As if the work is an account of instructions for how one deals with death of those close to them. In this instance, throughout the extent of the work the speaker deals with the passing of her father and grandmother, perhaps the accounts of these two instances of grieving will instruct for how to deal with the inevitable passing of her mother.
What was really captivating was Read’s style of poetry that which presented a feeling similar to that of reading someone’s personal journal. Just about the entirety of the work was written in past tense. Journaling proves to be a very stress-relieving habit, as well as means to better understand oneself in efforts to deal with similar circumstances in the future. In my own practice of journaling, I as well, find relief and deeper understanding of my own thoughts and emotions. That is what drew me to this work of Read’s as I felt it to be exactly like one’s own personal journal or diary. Again, what enticed me throughout the extent of Read’s work was the personal connection I felt. She described with such vivid imagery personal experiences that which I have endured myself. These experiences being the loss of a loved one, the circumstance of a parent’s remarriage, both very emotionally exhausting situations, and in reading Read’s work, I almost found a means of excising some pent up emotion or thoughts.