Friday, April 15, 2016

Review: The Book of Hours by Marianne Boruch

Synopsis: Inspired by the tradition of homemade prayer books popular during the Middle Ages, Marianne Boruch's The Book of Hours foregrounds the rich details of nature, which are both beautiful and ruthless. While investigating personal memory and issues of war, history, saints, god and godlessness, Boruch questions the nature of poetry itself. Within the poems are numerous, and numinous, voices. (from the back of the book)

Review: I didn't enjoy this as I thought I would. For starters, I picked this up thinking it was more religious than it was. But any mention of God or religious ideology came only in the form of the word "god" (small g), who function more like a disembodied and unsure voice, used as a foil to move the poem along. Mostly, she wrote about birds and other subjects that I couldn't always identify. There was nothing religious at all.
Second, there was little to distinguish the poems from each other. Often the ending didn’t connect to the beginning. And because the subject of each poem is unclear, they muddle together, no clear distinction between one and the next. Just long rambling lines of words, often strung together with odd punctuation or pauses intended to add drama but seemed pretentious. If she was trying to convey a certain emotion or concept, it was lost in the verbose muddle of her work. The poems felt as if she made a bag of the most common and lofty words used in poetry and grabbed a handful for each stanza, without regard to if they connected at all. Others may find her work worth reading, but not me. It wasn’t my sort of poetry. 

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, 2013

ISBN: 978-55659-385-7
Year Published: 2011
Date Finished: 4-14-2016
Pages: 87

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