Friday, 7 October 2011

An amazing book by an even more amazing woman ...

CleaveCleave by Angela Felsted
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've known Angela Felsted for about a year now, I believe. I met her through blogging, but got to know her even better when I started a poetry group on Facebook and we began critiquing each other's poems. In one word: WOW. Angela's talent is as much needed in this world as rain is to a drought. So, naturally, I want to give this amazing poet and musician some help to get the word out about her poetry chapbook, CLEAVE, which is available for pre-order through Finishing Line Press.

First, I'd just like to point out a few very pleasing aesthetics. It's all in lowercase. I'm a sucker for lowercase in poetry. I love how it represents a sort of purity and innocence, which, I might add, is remarkably clever considering the poetry is centered around childhood memories. Such a beautiful touch. Also, the titles of each poem are like sentences. Another unique trait that really caught my attention from the get go. I love it when writers break rules because, in my opinion, they are there to be broken, and when that happens, one's true voice shines through.

This collection strongly centers around the themes of music (even if quite symbolic) and tainted innocence. There are also a few religious connotations, but really they are only obvious if you decide to read the collection with religion in mind. I'm not a religious person, so I was so pleased to be able to read past Felsted's spiritual subtleties, and give them meanings of my own. This is a sign of true talent, when a reader is able to read and associate the words with themself, and not the poet.

I found myself ooh-ing and ahh-ing aloud over Felsted's work. I sometimes even thought, "wow. I wish I wrote that!" I could pinpoint my favorite moments from each and every poem (there is not even one dud among them), but I'm going to choose a line from one; one I'd like to call my favorite: "i was as water".

"...when i
tried to hold you
i tumbled
and slid
leaving sand on your
tattered shore ..."

I like to read this in two different ways:

1. to a person in my past
I am the wave. I tried to stay close to you, and love you, but all I did was leave my wretched debris on your already wretched land.

2. To my stringed instrument
I was holding you, but my grip on the bow was not strong enough (or too strong), it slipped out of my hand, leaving remnants of resin in your over-used strings. I'm afraid to play you. To hurt you. To hurt myself.

There is so much in this collection that evokes such a response. I will read this collection a lot more than once. And I'm sure, that with every reading, I will find something new to ooh and ahh over.

If you'd like to show your support and pre-order a copy of Angela Felsted's CLEAVE, please go HERE. You will not be disappointed!

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  1. Ah, Jessica, you are so great! I am blushing.

  2. Enjoyed reading about Anna.

    Have a grand week-end/

  3. I really have to get back to reading more poetry. How come it always slips my brain?

  4. Congratulations Angela! Nice review of her book, Jessica. e e cummings wrote in lower case too, maybe they are kindred spirits.

  5. Sounds like a lovely book. Beautiful cover, too. Best of luck, Angela! :)

  6. I am blown away by this eloquent review. Cleave will definitely be on my purchase list.

  7. Thank you for this review, Jessica. And congratulations, Angela. I wish you great success with the book. :)

  8. I love Angela's poetry and I'm a sucker for lower-case poetry, too. It sounds fantastic! Bit congrats to Angela!

  9. Wow, that really is lovely! I also like your analysis of it very much, Jess.

  10. Hi Jessica and Angela .. that brought a new dimension to poetry for me .. and to your book Angela .. 'Cleave' is such an interesting title ..

    Good luck with it all .. cheers Hilary

  11. I also love Angela's poetry and am looking forward to her chapbook! Excellent review Jessica!

  12. Thanks for sharing this, Jessica. I'd love to read more of Angela's poetry.

  13. She totally rocks, been following her for a time now. I really need to catch up don't I?!

    And no I'm no comedian, just mask pain with a smile but thanks for the new career idea. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  14. This sounds lovely, and your dual interpretation speaks to your wisdom as well.

  15. grats angela, sounds ab fab...

    thx for the super intro/sample, jessica :)

  16. Angela is awesome...and so is this review! Kudo's to both of you. :)


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

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