This four part poetry collection has had a rippling effect on me. Each time I think the imagery has settled into the dormant recesses of my mind, there it is again, reminding of the weight these poems carry. In an opening note on translation, Jake Levine writes that, although there is no perfectly accurate translation, the audience can "hear the original language." In Whale and Vapor, not only can we hear Kyung Ju's words, we feel them, see these dreams he paints. He is a master of redefinition, using hauntingly specific images over and over, mirroring how we constantly change and redefine understanding of the worldthrough repetition. However heavy - Death, Breath, Love, and the artist's place in nature - Kyung Ju's gentle touch and generous humor makes him not only important, but a joy to read.
"It's about trees," Obama said. "I like trees," I thought. "And I like Obama." That was my starting point. Then I read it. I had no idea the wonderful complexity I was jumping into. I'm not afraid to say that this was so much more than I asked for. And I am changed forever for it.
Great books plant themselves in you; let you grow with them and leave their imprint on you. The greatest books continue growing when you've stopped turning their pages. The Overstory keeps growing. Each section of the book is a strikingly different evolution frm the last, however essential to one another. Unrelated-seeming short stories - humans influenced by trees surrounding them - quickly grow together in the eyes of new perspective - a painfully semi-satisfying world-reframing trick. Powers has made something of mastery - it is not an easy read, but an important one
Now, with forests on fire, trees chopped down for housing complexes, and us burning ourselves and the world around us pseudo-consciously, we need this reframing. It's what great books do.
Antonio sees the world anew with the guidence of Ultima, an elderly Curandera (a medicine worman with strong connection to the natural world). The magic of New Mexico, the power of Nature, and the youthful curiostity for the world are cast through the lens of a growing child's eyes; delicately painted with humor and grace. Known as a staple of Chicano literature, Bless Me Ultima is as essential as any other American Literature. Tom Sawyer is not the only kid. Far from it. Give it a shot. You too maye see the world anew.
The joy of this book is that the is story is read not only through words, but also through pop-art style supplements (they shape the story and build on it without telling the reader what to see); it is a sensory read. It begins as the simple story of a boy held captive in a library. But as the story progresses, the simplicity sheds as the classic Murakami-style narrator - nieve, a little too self-aware, and generally unphased - begins to grapple with his own solitude now and until the end.
I love Murakami. He is a writer who shares his creative mind in a way that allows the reader to dive into the strikingly strange, strikingly honest worlds he builds, and allows us to actively feel the silent questions being asked.
Seeing the poetic memory, living it vicariously, honestly ruined me. And it did so in just the right way. Each of Howe's poems are a melancholic refelction - on childhood, family illness, and loss of marriage. In each resepective section, there is quiet destruction, devistation, and careful healing.
With the rocketing pace of a novel, it is worth reading as such, chapter by chapter. Funny, painful, nostalgic, an afternoon is all you'll need to lock this painting in your mind's eye before weeping it out. Then you can do it all again on another afternoon. But like...wait a couple weeks.
Two masterfully woven story lines fill the dreamy (in the hazy, half-remembered way), almost nostaligic, coming of age of Marie-Laure and Werner during the rise of Nazi Germany.
Between the magic of radio, reading, and memory, the pair help each other navigate a constantly changing world in unexpected ways; he a german orphan, she a blind, fearless French girl. Both tied to their desires to learn as much as they can from the world that falls apart around them, they grow, change, survive in secret.
Doerr explores their complexity in a simple, but lyrical way that makes it impossible to put down.
When the world unravels at the seams, what happens to us: the collective? How do we adapt? How and what do we create? How does our understanding and confidence in what we thought we knew for certain, change?
The citizens of Weimar Germany - a newly forming democracy in the post WWI, post monarchy - felt this ripping seam, and from the uncertainty of the future come one of the greatest sexual, artistic, and design revolutions the world has ever known.
When COVID struck the world, quesitons of the future, quality of life, safety, joy, and routine were all posed, all in the shadow of the question of mortality. Weitz shows a picutre of post-war Germany that may illuminate what kind of art we'll see.
This is an important book of poems. In the 3 part collection, we travel with Obejas through memory, sexuality, and observation of death. Each stop holds lessons for all people. The best poems always do.
Since its inception, poetry had relied on and enforced binaries in gender, sexuality, and race. Romance languages have too. Not always with malicious intent, but still true. This said, Obejas does something rather incredible. She stretches the limits of Spanish and enlish, by stripping and reframing traditional binaries in poetry and language alike. She writes in her author's note that not all poems are stripped of binary pronouns and subjects "because some things still happen to us precisely because of gender, especially for women." Therefore Obejas, a queer Cuban-American writer, has created a necessary text; a (mostly) gender-free text, that reveals core elements of humanity.
Achy Obejas lights a torch for writers and readers, BIPOC and allies alike, no matter what gender and orientation, to follow boldly into the night, as she throws her Bumeran scouting ahead.
The title is decieving. This is not a self-help book. Nor is an anthology of troubled artists. Rather, it is the why and how we must engage actively with art to grow and change. We must not be passive. It's on us, the institutions who hold art, and the architecture of our lives to restore our empathy; our humanity.
Not a book directed at artists or non-artists specifically, Art as Therapy meets at the axis - 'the every person'. Something essential for each of us lies in these pages. It may be about how to love, hope, or suffer, or simply to live in the daily off-balance. Redefine art's place in our days, and we redefine ourselves - a process to continue for all of our moments to come.
"To define a mission for art, then, one of its tasks is to teach us to be good lovers; lovers of rivers...skies...motorways...stones...somehow along the way, lovers of people."