November 6, 2015
I have had many book reviews published over the years. Unlike a lot of writing, you have to just stick to the formula — which I learned in university while majoring in history and taking a lot of English literature courses in which book reviews are part of the curriculum — and say something reasonably interesting about the book.
Presto, you have another piece of published work to your name.
By the time I wrote the following book review, though, I had veered quite far from the book review formula; even putting myself into the review.
Read on and let me know whether you like it or not:
Gulf Islands Driftwood
Early writing blooms in Fertig poems
by Tanya Lester
Invoking The Moon: Selected Poems 1975-1989 by Mona Fertig. Windsor, Ontario: Black Moss Press, 2006. 95pp. $15.00
As I sat on the patio with the dog at my feet reading Mona Fertig’s poetry, I had this urge to go down to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado (where I happen to be housesitting at the moment) and say to anyone who would listen, “Hey, read this book.”
Invoking The Moon is a collection of poems infused with beautiful substance.
They are anchored in clarity — the Fertig variety. Intuitive but also articulate.
The “mouth” appears in many of the pieces as if underlining Fertig’s strength in communicating, in all kinds of ways. Like in “Western”:
She was Rubenesque
and in the wide street
held her head high.
the whip stung
Or in “Eros”:
she sucks fruit
from the stiffest
What surprises me is that the poems are consistently good right from the earliest one called “Archer” written by a young Artemis-type (one imagines) woman, to the final piece.
In the “Momnipotent” prose poem, Fertig still shoots word-arrows, but this time as a woman filled with the passion of a lover, marriage partner and mother.
The consistency surprises me because so many poets either grow into or grow out of their best work as they experiences life’s intense transitions.
Yet these poems are far from being all the same.
The difference is in the style and the variety of what inspires each one. Like in “Then You Will be Home”:
You have wandered away
from belle sound
but the wind is on your
your cotton dress hums
like honey bees
walk past the Montreal
Or from “Gently Invoking the Moon”:
You are almost here
I sit like a Buddha in the
garden of Tao…
pushing you out through
my hothouse floor
waiting for labour…
Through all of these stories of her young to mid-life, Fertig explains in the book’s introduction that, “And always, I kept writing, like a stream, a dream, as I had done since I was an introspective 14-year-old, filling notebooks and diaries upstairs in my roon…
“And without these early poems, I would be living my life unlived, and the empty bowl, or the blank page would never refill, would bring no more gifts or illumination.”
Hmmm. I wonder if I should go and hock this book down at the Pearl Street Mall.
Don’t know if I can compete with the panhandler who — a poet in his own rights– holds a cardboard sign that reads: “Why lie to anyone? It’s for the beer.”
Of course, he might share a toast with me in honour of this book.
Tanya Lester is also a tea leaf reader and tarot reader who includes psychic channelling and intuitive counselling in the readings she gives, a reiki master, an art model and a housesitter. Find out more by going to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google or to her extensive website: http://www.teareading.wordpress.com
Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (that can be purchased from the author or from amazon.com), Friends I Never Knew, Dreams & Tricksters, Women Rights/Writes. These books are in many libraries and the last three are also in the Legislative Library of Manitoba.