Friday, 5 October 2007

Songs for Relinquishing the Earth by Jan Zwicky

This collection of poetry is infused with music, many of the poems being in homage to specific musical works, such as Bartok's Roumanian Dances. One of the things I most enjoyed was how music and the natural world entwine in several of the poems, these lines from K219, Adagio:

The fiddle is still maple tuned with starlight,
the bow, breath with a backbone,
sweet with sap.

That long trill
is a hand that lifts your hair
a final time, sunlight a last kiss.

The constant music running through the collection balances the sense of loss found in poems such as Brahms' Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op 115:

....though the earth is dying
and the names of its diseases
spread from the fencelines....

The music in these poems and in nature can help to give us hope in the face of seeming environmental catastrophe.

Songs for the Earth is published on recycled stock by Brick Books,
email brick DOT booksAT sympatico DOT ca


Jo said...

Oh the first two stanzas you quote are spectacularly good. I want to read more.

Janice Thomson said...

I'll be getting that book Juliet

Anonymous said...

I will also be getting it. Beautiful imagery...