To complete my reading list for class, I bought the two last books required. In addition for the September haul, I also bought a book which was adapted into a movie of the same name starring the one and only Michelle Pfeiffer. I remember seeing that movie years ago and thought it was beautiful despite the journey the main character had to go through.
In A.M. Klein’s final volume of poetry, he explores more profoundly than ever before in his writings the theme of community which had been the centre of his major works. The poems express his responses to persons, things, and places, to issues Canadian and, more particularly, French-Canadian. As in his earlier poems about the Jewish community, in his French-Canadian poems Klein drew on his firsthand knowledge of the Canadiens and their culture. His warm sympathy for French Canada was probably deepened by his awareness that it, like his own Jewish community, was a minority society striving to preserve its cultural identity, language, and religion against the encroachments of larger outside forces.
If these similarities enabled him to draw on his personal experience to celebrate a living community, they also enabled him to confront the limitations of community as he had suffered them, a crippling narrowness and fearfulness in the face of the unknown. In the volume’s concluding poem, “Portrait of the Poet as Landscape,” the theme of the neglected artist in an indifferent or corrupting society is a moving general indictment. The Rocking Chair was the best received of Klein’s books, winning enthusiastic praise in Québec for its accuracy and sensitivity, and also capturing the Governor General’s Award for poetry. It is one of the major collections of 20th century Canadian poetry.
Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songscelebrates the astonishing career of Leonard Cohen, revered around the world as one of the great visionaries, writers, performers, and most consistently daring songwriters.
Cohen’s career began in 1956 with the publication of Let Us Compare Mythologies, and he has since published eight books of poems – including The Spice-Box of Earth,Death of a Lady’s Man, and Book of Mercy – and has made numerous albums, becoming one of the most popular and influential artists in Canada, the United States, and Europe.
His first record, The Songs of Leonard Cohen, released in 1967, was a remarkable musical début and introduced some of his most famous songs, including “Suzanne,” “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” and “Sisters of Mercy.” From then, and with each subsequent album, he earned the status as one of the most dazzlingly literate songwriters of our time.
Stranger Music brings together for the first time a comprehensive selection of Leonard Cohen’s song lyrics and his poetry, including some poems not previously published. This landmark edition demonstrates the range and depth of Cohen’s work, revealing an extraordinary gift of language that speaks with rare clarity, passion, and timelessness.
Everywhere hailed as a novel of rare beauty and power, White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes-each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned-becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.
I’m not much into poetry but hopefully it will be the beginning of a new interest thanks to this class. As for “White Oleander”, I hope it’s as beautiful as the movie if not even more.