Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reader's Diary #196- Diana Brebner: The Golden Lotus (up to "Head of a Girl")

If you're like me, switching immediately from one book to the next is never an easy transition. Just as I get used to one author's style, I switch and have to begin all over again.

I suspected that was the case with "The Golden Lotus". I just could not get into it at all. Sadly, with the exception of one poem, I still can't. Goodbye "bad transition" theory.

My major problem with her work is her rigid style. For a poet, she wasn't all that adventurous. Three major issues stick out:

1. She overrelies on couplets. There are occasional branches, but for the most part she tends to use two lines-break-two lines-break-and so forth. Actually, they're pseudo-couplets at that. Often she used an ABAB rhyme scheme, more commonly known in quatrains, but with a break between the two sets of lines. Furthermore, each line is most often continuous, flowing into the next, even across the line breaks. In one or two of these poems an argument can be made as to why the form she's chosen fits the theme. However, for the most part, it feels arbitrary, as if written simply to look like a poem.

2. She repeats herself WAY too much. You can be sure if the title is "Fallen" for example, you're going to see the word "fallen" or some variant at least half a dozen times. Like the couplet problem, the repetition could be defended in some instances, but in others it's just an annoyance that distracts from any good qualities the poem might have had.

3. Too often the poems seem like cliches of poetry. Even the title feels overdone. Furthermore, there are occasional attempts at transcendentalism (there's that word again) which just remind me of the hippy connotations people have with the word. In "The Walls- Thrall" Brebner writes, "...the stars are swimming, dipping/ like porpoises, or angels, in and out". I was expecting a unicorn to show up at any second.


Rattling Books said...

I see that Lure of the Labrador Wild is among the next up on your "reading" list. If you ever consider Listening to it Jody Richardson recorded an unabridged reading for Rattling Books. you can check out a listening sample at at the following link:

John Mutford said...

Thanks Rattling Books people! I just read your comment on Rj's blog. Guess you're kicking the promotion into high gear. Nothing wrong with that! I'll give it a listen and make it a part of my Lure of The Labrador Wild posts whenever I get around to it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think I can safely give the Golden Lotus a miss, thanks. But do let me know if those unicorns ever show up!

John Mutford said...

If the unicorns do show up, maybe it's time I switch meds.