Big Thank You . . .

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who participated and commented during National Poetry Month. The blog tour was not as well organized this year given I’ve had a few life changes in recent months, but overall, everyone who participated did a great job and made me smile with each comment and contribution.

As a thank you, I’ve extended two poetry-related giveaways until mid-May. One is US/Canada only, the other is international.

Please feel free to check out the giveaways and spread the word:

******L.A. and Dog Years and I Can Be the One EP by Luke Rathborne; Deadline May 14 (US/Canada)

******Choose 1 of 5 poetry books to win; Deadline May 14 (Global)

You must enter through the links provided, NOT on this post.

White Egrets by Derek Walcott

White Egrets by Derek Walcott is a collection of deeply suggestive and blatant poems about the natural cycle of birth, life, and death and coming to terms with the later as friends, lovers, and others pass away leaving the narrator behind on the journey of life.  Each poem uses nature imagery to paint a canvas of emotion as the narrator grapples with grief, joy, and memory.

Walcott’s poems are long and narrative in many cases, which is not a form or style that calls to every reader, but even the most picky reader can easily pick out the cues that will carry them throughout the multiple part poems.

For instance, in the title poem “White Egrets” section one, readers will notice the lines “in the drumming world that dampens your tired eyes/behind two clouding lenses, sunrise, sunset,/” that signal a decline in health.  In the second section, the theme carries on in the lines “into a green thicket of oblivion,/with the rising and setting of a hundred suns/” until it culminates through a series of images and narrations in section four with the lines “and of clouds.  Some friends, the few I have left,/are dying, but the egrets stalk through the rain/as if nothing mortal can affect them, or they lift/”  and finally in section eight, “the egrets soar together in noiseless flight/or tack, like a regatta, the sea-green grass,/they are seraphic souls, as Joseph was.//”  While the poem is dreary in theme, the subject of losing ones friends slowly over time to death, it also carries along elements of immortality and being left behind as a testament to those who have passed before us.

Many of Walcott’s poems are in memory of friends, family, and others as he dedicates poems or portions of poems to them, and each takes on a meditative and reflective state as he explores their relationship and his memories of their time together.  More than just mundane relationships to our friends and family, Walcott paints a picture of humanity’s infinite connections to the past, present, and future in an effort to demonstrate how deeply we are all interconnected.  In poem 46, “catalogue of a vicious talent that severs/itself from every attachment, a bitterness whose/poison is praised for its virulence.  This verse/” Walcott harshly discusses the consequences of severing attachments, which some may actually believe is a preferable way to live.

White Egrets is a collection readers would probably tackle on a poem-by-poem basis, rather than read at once — not because they are too hard to interpret but because they tackle themes and emotions that are heavy and can weigh down the reader or provide him or her with fodder for reflection on his or her own life.  From moments in history such as the debts owed because of the Holocaust to the election of President Obama, the poet reviews moments in history and how they impact individuals.  Overall, White Egrets is a emotional roller coaster ride of longer poems that are meditative, disruptive, and thought-provoking.

This is my 5th book for the Fearless Poetry Exploration Reading Challenge.


This is my 11th book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.




This review is part of my celebration for National Poetry Month!

85th Virtual Poetry Circle

Welcome to the 85th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

It’s a new year, and if you haven’t heard there is a new feature on the blog this year . . . my first ever, poetry reading challenge.  Yup, that means everyone should be signing up because all you need to do is read 1 book of poetry.

Here’s a treat from Derek Walcott‘s White Egrets:

1. (page 3)

The chessmen are as rigid on their chessboard
as those life-sized terra-cotta warriors whose vows
to their emperor with bridle, shield and sword
were sworn by a chorus that has lost its voice;
no echo in that astonishing excavation.
Each soldier gave an oath, each gave his word
to die for his emperor, his clan, his nation,
to become a chess piece, breathlessly erect
in shade or crossing sunlight, without hours —
from clay to clay and odourlessly strict.
If vows were visible they might see ours
as changeless chessmen in the changing light
on the lawn outside where bannered breakers toss
and the palms gust with music that is time’s
above the chessmen’s silence. Motion brings loss.
A sable blackbird twitters in the limes.

Let me know your thoughts, ideas, feelings, impressions.  Let’s have a great discussion…pick a line, pick an image, pick a sentence.

I’ve you missed the other Virtual Poetry Circles.  It’s never too late to join the discussion.