Thursday, January 31, 2013

Silver Threads by Jade Kennedy

Title: Silver Threads
Author: Jade Kennedy

Genre: Fiction (Poetry / Mythic / Virginia Woolf / Mothers / Holidays)
Publisher/Publication Date: Valley Press (5/31/2012)
Source: The author.

Rating: Liked a great deal.
Did I finish?: I did, in one evening, sucked in.
One-sentence summary: Twenty-one poems touching on childhood, Halloween, fairy tale landscapes, history, and favored books.
Reading Challenges: Dive Into Poetry, E-book

Do I like the cover?: I do -- I wish it was a print I could frame on my walls! It reminds me of the opening of her poem 'Silver Threads': When those silver threads weave/as soft and tender as white starlight/curling in tendrils through and within...

First line: Once upon a barren night/when the starless sky was as black as black had always been/and the sea was restless, forever listless/the trees breathed within the dark/their branches stretching and twisting/growing and snapping/searching for the amber moon, always elusive. -- from 'Darkness'

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy if you can -- it's only available on Kindle at the moment -- or, if you're interested and would consider reviewing it, Jade Kennedy has said she would welcome any reader's request for a PDF version. (You can reach her at jadelizzie85 at hotmail.com)

Why did I get this book?: I was intrigued by the poem Kennedy included with her review request.

Review: I picked up this volume of poetry one night after work, intending to just thumb through the offerings and see what the vibe was like; and then it was bedtime, and I had devoured the entire volume.

Suffering through this everlasting respiratory and sinus infection, I haven't been feeling the most clear-headed and focused.  Sometimes, I admit, poetry can feel a bit obscure for my tastes -- I worry I'm 'missing' something -- but what I love about poetry is the snapshot of sensory detail, magic, and emotion that comes through with a finely crafted poem.

On her website, Kennedy describes this volume as "a blend of dark, light, spiritual and a hint of madness," and that's precisely what she offers.  Kennedy's volume had the kind of dreamy language and moody, almost fairy tale-like elements that I'm drawn to -- without being unmoored by wild fantasy.  Touching upon the experiences of childhood, first love, favorite holidays and books, the inspiration from a historic landscape, and the stressors of every day life, Kennedy's poems are brief breaths of experiences familiar and alien.

The lies I told my Mother

Last Tuesday
                 whilst rummaging
I found a box of lies I told my Mother,
                                         one lost summer
Bright and golden August sunshine
spilled across the wooden floorboards.

White wild flowers sprung up between the cracks.
The smell of orange juice was almost tangible.

The lies laid before me,
                              scattered like stars
small and innocent, childlike.
The shame that lay beside them
                              had engulfed and consumed.

I heard my Mother's voice whisper,

'Leave that which scars the spirit to fade beneath the dust'

While I enjoyed all the poems, there were some standouts, like 'Orlando', which was inspired by Woolf's novel and the film; 'Yorvik', about the area of northern England once controlled by Danish Vikings; and 'The Crows', which felt like the opening of a deliciously creepy movie I really want to see.  (It didn't hurt that it ended with the phrase my wife and I have on our wedding rings, 'Vous et nul autre'.)

Since my initial inhalation of this volume, I've gone back to it twice, trying the poems on a little more slowly, and they stand up to rereading and mulling and chewing and reading-aloud-to-my-wife-while-she-brushes-her-teeth well. They're grounded enough that I feel like I 'get' them, but with enough imaginative twists of language that I can invent my own deeper meanings.

For those curious, and willing to post a review somewhere, Kennedy will send readers a PDF of this volume. You can contact her through her website.

13 comments:

  1. This does sound interesting, and though I am not a frequent reader of poetry, I can see myself reading and loving this. I love the way that you have digested this so slowly, and the way that you continue to read the poems to totally assimilate them. I might just have to contact the author!

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    1. Not to be crazy pushy (but here I go!), if you're at all interested, I say email her. She kindly waited two or three months, maybe longer, for me to get to this so you don't have to feel pressured to rush to review. At only 28 pages, this was an un-intimidating volume to dip into and wonderfully escapist. I think you might enjoy it!

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  2. Sounds awesome:) Must be good if you read it all in one night:) Neat post, groovy blog!

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    1. Mark -- thanks so much for popping by and commenting! It was really that good! :)

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  3. I usually do not read poetry but I think I would enjoy this one. Thanks for letting me know about it!

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  4. I don't tend to read poetry, but it does sound nice. And the cover is gorgeous!

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    1. I still can't stop thinking about the poem inspired by Woolf's Orlando. So good! I looooooooooooove the cover so much.

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  5. Hi Everyone - Thank you so much for the compliments, and to Audra for the review. I just wanted to add for anyone asking about the cover that is from one of my Mum's paintings :)

    If anyone is interested in any more of her artwork her website is www.juliekennedyart.co.uk

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  6. This sounds wonderful Audra! I'm not a frequent reader of poetry but sometimes it will just grab me as this one has. Like you I sometimes find I don't get the just of poetry but certain poets write with such grace and beauty that you can feel it even if you don't completely get the meaning. Anyhow thanks for posting this. I'm going to contact her and see if she'd be willing to send me a PDF copy.

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    1. I'm glad you're going to email -- can't wait to see what you think and what poems jump out at you! There was a real atmospheric ambiance to this collection that immediately resonated with me.

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  7. I prefer my poetry in paper form, but this sounds like one that I would love to read.

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  8. From the beginning lines I can tell I will love these poems!

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