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Book Title: Saudade|
The author of the book: Traci Brimhall
ISBN 13: 9781556595172
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 26.70 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.5
Edition: Copper Canyon Press
Date of issue: November 14th 2017
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There are poems and collections that resist easy understanding, yet draw the reader in through the senses, structure, and by making brief contact with familiar references. The feeling of longing for persons, for things, for a hand, or even a god that are absent can be felt throughout. Details which can’t necessarily be found in histories are missing. The myths, imagination, and storytelling fill in the gaps – something one of the speakers asserts, saying ‘The end of biography is death / . . . / the end of mythology is forgetfulness.’ (from ‘Rapture: Lucus’). There is a connection dependent on memory, for stories to be passed down or at least for this generation to interrogate the past.
Imagery and allusions do not come from one set of myths though much of the animal and plantlife and terrain emerge from Brazil – references to classical ideas such as the Chorus, and to Western Christianity merge with a pre-Christian sense of sacredness leading a speaker to challenge belief, saying ‘They don’t believe you exist / even though they wrap slices of lamb / in the pages of the book you wrote / for the illiterate shepherds’ (from ‘Incomplete Address to the Lord’) and later to speak of an ambivalent god with an ‘ambition / to be free of us’ (from ‘Sanctuary’). The fusion of established ideals into places that precede those ideals challenges the reader to listen rather than assume or impose.
The title poem ‘Saudade’ closes the collection with a Prospero-like monologue, shifting attention from the story to the speaker. Where Prospero asks to be set free, the poet and mythmaker expresses a desire for ‘a world of my own’, a place ‘where everything is true but retreats when you try / to touch it.’ In this way the past comes to seem more ‘endless’ to the speaker and the poems, rather than simply being a riddle solved (which I don’t think I could) and placed on the shelf, becomes a starting point.
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Read information about the authorTraci Brimhall is the author of Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), winner of the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010), winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.
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