Marie Lecrivain reviews Unfinished Book by Deborah P. Kolodji
published by Shadow Ink Publications
buy the book
like the simple words of a poem,
speaks truth in three syllables or less.
- "CyranNO"/ m. lecrivain
I never quote myself in a review as this indulges in the epitome of arrogance, but the above passage describes perfectly how I regard Deborah P. Kolodji's new collection unfinished book (2006 Shadow Ink Publications). Kolodji has found a bit of the golden mean somewhere between Eliot (of Wasteland fame) and Shiki (Japan's last great haiku/tanka master).
Kolodji is a master of short poetry forms, notably post-modern/English language haiku and cinquains. She condenses the universal experiences other poets wax on about for pages at a time into short, powerful organic verse that slips into the mind like a little drop of water traveling at lightning speed to burst into full-blown loveliness at the base of the cerebellum.
the following three haiku: "unfinished book," "birth
announcement," and "teenage giggles." Most of Kolodji's
haiku maintain their ability to stand alone, but these have been cleverly
linked into a natural triptych by their placement on the page:
an unopened packet
than a few of the pages of unfinished book are garnished with
treble haiku, but there are other poems to investigate and enjoy even with
their strange marriage of humor and despondency: "Growing
Salsa," a delicious, evocative tale about the evolution of salsa with
a surprise twist (sorry, no spoilers here); "Testament," an
introspective, lonely, elliptical view of the death of a loved one who
succumbed to a smoking addiction; and "Infidelity," which
skillfully employs the ubiquitous metaphor of the onion - for the shedding
factor - to draw a parallel between the narrator's journey from the death
of her marriage:
onions always make me cry -
the husband I divorced today
finding receipts for hotels and restaurants
elegant than the Colorado Street Deli
I never dined.
her slow, agonizing rebirth as a singleton:
each paper became one more skin
peel away, the round illusion slowly shrinking,
perfect marriage becoming memory -
onion metaphor transcends its ubiquity with each line, until the poem's
I am bleeding tears, pouring salt
my rye bread only today
order was no onions.
do like the simple words of a poem in three syllables or less, in twenty
lines or less. It strikes me as ironic - again - that in our
post-post-modern age where the dogma "less is more" has become
the new global catch phrase Kolodji applies this adage to her poetry, and
renders the brutality of this truth into something graceful and appealing.
is a slow, fresh whisper into an ear made almost deaf by so many desperate
voices clamoring for attention in the guise of literary greatness. Think
of it as a breath from the Buddha; soft, ephemeral, and invigorating.
- review by Marie Lecrivain, executive editor of poeticdiversity
© 2006 SubtleTea Productions All Rights Reserved