Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Door

by Margaret Atwood.

Quickie recap: The Door is a slim volume of poetry that packs so much punch per square inch it'll leave your brain just bursting with imagery and snippets so vibrant and raw they'll haunt you for days.

Quickie review: Truthfully, I feel ill-equipped to talk about poetry. Perhaps talking about poetry is like dancing about architecture. Perhaps it's just best left up to the more lyrically-minded. Prose is my comfort zone. But when I hit the poetic sweet-spot, I feel energized and inspired, like the words are thrumming some strings inside me that usually lay dormant. And so because this is a rare and intense thing for me, I confess, I've had this little book on or about my person for months now, and I've taken my time with it. I've savoured. I've read and reread. I've paused and come back. I've sat and digested. I've thought and fell to pieces. 'My Mother Dwindles' has left me heartsick and awed. 'Boat Song' is eerily evocative. 'At Brute Point', though, has captivated me and tortured me the most. How is it sweet and funny and pathetic at the same time? It's not sad, she tells us, or rather, assures herself, and I wonder if it took her breath away to write as it did for me to read.

Quickie recommendation: This is not a case of like or not like. This is a case of being struck, being arrested by small black letters on a creamy, off-white page. Of having dreams of weeds that grow almost audibly (almost audibly!). Of encountering mortality and vitality within the same volume, and feeling optimistic and melancholy in my same heart. Of being reduced to horribly ungrammatic sentence fragments because after spending quality time with such brave, bold words, you just aren't capable of measuring up and now you know it unequivocally. And so with a breath that verges on a sigh, you say to others: open The Door.


Lorna said...

Mille mercis!!!

Steve said...

OK, I keep hearing about this woman, I'm gonna have to read her stuff.

Droog said...

A beautifully written review.

david santos said...

Hi Jay,

I wish you a good end of 2007 and a good year of 2008.