Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reader's Diary #159- Carolyn Marie Souaid: Snow Formations (FINISHED)

While I doubt it'll stick with me like Purdy or Bok, Snow Formations is a pretty solid piece of work.

Two of Souaid's biggest strengths are wit and line-breaks.

1. Wit- In "Goodbye" she reflects back on her leaving and quips, "No one stopped me when I left. No one cursed the sky or penned an epic." I love it. Sarcastic comic relief, but also it reveals more of her sense of isolation and insignificance. The fact that the collection in itself has an almost epic feel, comments even further on her growth- no one else wrote her epic, so she gains some autonomy and does it herself.

2. Line-breaks- To me, this has to be one of the most under-rated skills in poetry. When many people first get into poetry, I think they cut lines off willy-nilly just to make them look "poem-like". Others, who are aware of rhythm, will chop lines off to fit the meter or sound of the poem. That's a step in the right direction. But Souaid is one of those people who use the line break to it's utmost (Atwood's quite skilled at it as well). I just picked "Coming Home" at random to illustrate my point:

The photographs on the wall are still
stuck in their frames. The family,
all in bed, sleep soundly.

Notice how each line makes a point individually? Great line breaks, I have to admit, are one of the things I appreciate most about poetry. And if that doesn't make me sound geeky, I don't know what does.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think I see what you mean about the line breaks. If these were read as full sentences, the nuances would be quite different. In this way, the photographs are still, as well as being still in their frames.
Have I got the right idea?

Anonymous said...

I agree, it means a lot.
Line breaks,
I mean.

John Mutford said...

Barbara, You got it!

Helmut, You said it. The line
breaks are very important.