Peter - portrait/ritratto

Peter - portrait/ritratto

martedì 19 marzo 2013

Poetry comment

SHARON OLDS – STAG’S LEAP – CAPE – 2012 I repeat: not a review just a set of personal and likely off the mark reactions. “My husband, my ex-husband, my then husband, my ex, him, he.... ” and then “my friend” several times. Comes to be very twee. Almost at the end, I am getting irritable with and irritated by this book. The husband who left comes across as a real jerk in distinctly two dimensions and the despairing wife as simply far too good to be true, i.e., a real jerk as well. Any situation, phrase or deed is a great excuse to muse about him again. Ok, catharsis, but it does seem so contrived at times. I can’t help having the impression of a Sunday School teacher saying naughty words (no offence, Ms. Olds, but you actually do read poetry like a Sunday School teacher): she misses him, misses sex with him, misses cutting his hair... but for god’s sake couldn’t she just have been a bit pissed off and angry once in a while? A wee bit more human? A few neat turns of phrase and some nice images, padded out with lots of trundling about: it seems to be chest-beating, revelatory but on closer looks they are set pieces in full creative writing syndrome. Ms. Olds has a fine reputation and this book has won a major prize, so I’m reluctant to use words like “insincerity” and “shallow” – but, there, I’ve used them. I’ll give it another go and report back. PS. Can now add "my once husband" and "my young husband" to the list, plus another "my friend"... making it all sound like mundane and rather trivial letters to an Agony Aunt. Pity, because there is some good poetry in there at times only it gets bogged down, weighed down by this "goody two shoes" style. Admit it, Sharon, you hated him at least once, wanted to kill him at least once, felt abused at least once... PPS. There's a sensation that the cellophane wrapping is never completely opened.

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