16 - Blood Memory by Neile Graham Nov 4, 2008 6:11:44 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Nov 4, 2008 6:11:44 GMT 2
Blood Memory, Neile Graham's third book of poetry, is a cycle
of dramatic monologues and lyrics that celebrates women's stories.
Many of these poems imagine women from the past: a tinker, a crofter,
a Viking wife. Other poems recount contemporary tales: a woman on her
deathbed assessing her life, a middle-aged woman hungry for youth, a
young woman just testing the world. These voices create a composite
portrait of how the stories we tell about the natural and human world
affect our lives and our perceptions of ourselves; they show us what
we have in common and what divides us from ourselves, those we love,
those we hate. <i>Blood Memory</i> reveals an ancient, ageless psyche
discovering herself, exploring the world, and learning to meet that
world part way, envisioning how landscape, folklore, circumstance,
and memory shape what it means to be human.
Her round bald pate, encircled
eyes, nose triangular,
her mouth a small vee
of hinted smile—
she's laughing, deadly earnest,
from the eaves
of Kilpeck's saintly church.
Amongst the corbels'
beasts and hunting dogs,
predator or prey
she's part of that hunt,
so defiantly female
centuries of vicars
left her untouched.
serious as breath,
answers the question
where are we going:
where we come from.
Spindle legs bent,
arms curled under,
fingers bent and opening
the mouth of that cave,
holding its secrets
open to the world,
no less mysterious
for all of its blatancy,
those fingers almost daring us
to go inside, go inside
where everything revealed
is also swallowed,
where the opening
is clear but also a labyrinth.
This figure has the comic
forbiddenness of the word:
cunt. The hard-edged
beginning and end
with the interior
to get lost in.
The giving of power
adds to this power.
All the insult and all of the envy.
The welcoming toothless teeth
of such passive victory,
the open beckoning mouth of fate
swallowing us whole
innocent of motive, weaponless,
faithless, her laughter
owning us all.
Raves and reviews for Blood Memory:
"This is rich stuff, daring both rant and rhapsody, crafted with much imaginative skill. The book is arranged in all sorts of interesting, challenging designs.... Graham creates a lovely blend of urgency and subtlety making many of the poems not only page turners, but something to savour as well. Her descriptions always stretch out expectations with just the right lilt, the perfect detail...I love how intensely she leads us into greater and greater complexities, history and mythology and the most secretive parts of the heart all colliding in a grand burst of energy...the page lighting up like a meteor shower."
--Barry Dempster, Arc 46
"Imagine compressing the history of woman into poetry. Well, in her third collection of poems, Blood Memory, Neile Graham has done just that. ...Blood Memory is a true tour de force. ... Using every poetic "colour" imaginable, Blood Memory paints vivid pictures of generations of women, past and present. Pictures that will remain in a reader's mind, long after the book's covers are closed."
--Ronnie R. Brown, Canadian Bookseller
"Neile Graham skillfully and lyrically guides the reader down the path of the past to the present...the collection reads like a richly assembled quilt. ... Blood Memory is an eloquent and dramatic look at the cycle of life and the vision and circumstances that tie women together and divide them from themselves."
--Deena Lewis, LitRag 11
"The stories are distinct, original. The manner in which they are woven together allows the individual pieces in the collection to not only function alone, but to further resonate in and with the
accompaniment of the rest. The voices become a conversation, they speak to (and of) each other. The effect is stunning."
As the cycles in the book--the "Remnants" poems, the "Story" poems, and especially the "Mairie" poems--swirl across and around each other, the cumulative effect is startling. Graham approaches the everyday experiences of her voices, her speakers, and illuminates them. She allows us access to the wonderful subtleties that define and differentiate individual lives. The pieces in Blood Memory lament, interrogate, and, finally, celebrate the various lives and voices of the women with whom they deal. They do so in a subtle, yet distinct, poetic style."
--Matt Robinson, The League of Canadian Poets Poetry Spoken Here Webstore
About the author:
Neile Graham is Canadian by birth and inclination, but currently
lives in Seattle, Washington, USA and works at the University of
Washington. Her writing has been published in the U.S, England, and
Canada, and she is a graduate of the University of Victoria's and the
University of Montana's writing programs. She also attended and is
workshop administrator for Clarion West Writers Workshop. She has
three full-length poetry collections in print: Seven Robins (1983),
Spells for Clear Vision (1994) and Blood Memory (2000) and a poetry
CD, She Says: Poems Selected and New (2007). She is currently working
on three novels, a collection of poems about her travels in Scotland
and another about Scottish and Pacific Northwest folklore.
ISBN 1-894543-01-7, 127 pages, $14.95
[glow=teal,2,300]BUY HERE, BUY NOW:[/glow]
The University of Washington Bookstore (ships free within the U.S.): tinyurl.com/6p6yvu
Chapters Indigo (Canada): tinyurl.com/6hjp8o
Website: (worldwide via cheque or PayPal): tinyurl.com/5lgkgl