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Song and Spectacle Paperback – September 25, 2012
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About the Author
Rachel Rose's work has appeared in various journals including Poetry, The Malahat Review and The Best American Poetry, as well as numerous anthologies. Her most recent poetry collection, Song & Spectacle (Harbour, 2012) won the Audre Lorde Award in the US and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award in Canada. She was the librettist for the opera When the Sun Comes Out, which grapples with fundamentalism and forbidden love. She is the winner of the Peterson Memorial Prize for poetry and the Bronwen Wallace award for fiction, and the recipient of a 2014 Pushcart Prize. She is the Poet Laureate of Vancouver for 2014-2017.
Top Customer Reviews
We need poets like Rose because we need someone to take banal, everyday topics like "how do you get over a childhood trauma?" and spin them into healing, sinuous gold, as in "Mystery," which begins, "Not what was done to you, girl/but how you survived it" and near the conclusion, allows, "You let what happened once/become a legend, a long time ago." Anyone reading this review might cry out, "How?" but you won't have that question if you ramble through her poems, or if, like me, you take them sparingly, like medicine, or hits of heady rapture.
Rose takes on other topics, capturing the mirror-neuroned adrenaline rush of a mob, free of glorification or judgment, just notices it so that we can get closer to understanding it, recognize it, be conscious enough to resist it without disowning it. In a way, that's an ongoing theme of the book, engaging with the disowned so that we can be less unconscious around it. When we are less unconscious around disowned topics, we are more conscious in general--every single sense sings, everything can be seen more gloriously.
If you have ever taken a walk through a garden, have had parents, or been a parent, have been sick, or well, or lost, or loved, there is something here for you.
When I read Rose's poems, I begin seeing the power of words set as precisely and thoughtfully as gems, with plangent imagery, nuanced timpani. But not in ornate precious metal settings. I see the gems set in strands of seaweed, crooks of moss. She amplifies, and reorients the way I think about everything around me and inside me, and I can only absorb a bit at a time, as I want it to endure.
Her viewpoint is one I am drawn too. She has a wise outlook and doesn't stay away from the political. If you want to see how to write a political poem--read her work. She doesn't rant or rephrase what we already know, but connects the political with the personal, takes it from a statement and brings it into a poem.
I have all of Rachel books and recommend them, but if you've never read her, this is a wonderful book to begin with. Just beautiful, interesting, enjoyable writing for all readers of poetry.