Sunday, September 25, 2016
Love Letters to the World
Title: Love Letters to the World
Author: Meia Geddes
Publishing Company: Poetose Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2016
Rating: 4/5 "Liked It"
This is an exercise in love, an attempt at developing taste, a test of how sweet a word can be, an ode to moments. This is a manifestation of slowness and quiet and sunshine, early mornings and late evenings, glad memories and slender times. This is yearning and giving, an extended meditation on letters, what they can and cannot do for one's being. LOVE LETTERS TO THE WORLD — a series of 120 lyrical prose poems — addresses the world as body, concept, stranger. Unabashedly lyrical, epistolary, and plotless, this hybrid collection may appeal to those who are fans of Kahlil Gibran, Rabindranath Tagore, and Mary Ruefle. It is a quiet celebration and exploration of life, love, language, and one's place in the world.
What I Liked
I loved that this collection of poetry was so meditative! Geddes definitely knows how to lull a reader into a mental state that is calm enough to contemplate her poetry, but not so calm that one falls asleep. Geddes then uses that beautiful state of mental bliss to encourage her audience to try to truly understand the physical and spiritual implications of her poetry. I loved this because there was a surface level, then a bottom of the iceberg, then a bottom of the ocean to each of her poems. I absolutely had to be in the mental state that Geddes put me in to be able to understand each of these three parts. And, let me tell you, she never failed to put me into that mental state.
I also loved the way that each of the letters was written! Each poem was so natural sounding that the words rolled off of the tongue without any of the forced strangeness that results from the work of other modern day poets.
What I Disliked
Although the poetry was very beautiful, I wish that there would have been a plot. I would have liked to know what was going on to inspire Geddes to write each of the poems. It's not as though she sat down and looked at a calendar and decided to write about a subject based on the day. Why does it matter that a little girl hugs her? Why is she writing about pregnant bellies all of a sudden? I believe that Geddes should have allowed her audience to get to know her through her poetry.
I also disliked the repetitive nature of the letters. Yes, these are all letters. Yes, that's important to your book. No, you do not have to use the same greeting and salutation for each letter. After a while, that begins to detract from the book.
This may be a book that requires some knowledge of the discussed pieces. For example, the parts involving pregnancy did not affect me as much as they would have if I were a mother. I would like to go back and see how these poems change their meaning for me as I change and grow.
If this book was a tea, it would be jasmine. It is calming, but filled with complex undertones.
About the Author (from NetGalley)
Meia Geddes was born in China, raised in Sacramento, and lives in Boston. She graduated from Brown University and has been the recipient of a Fulbright grant, and is currently completing her master's in library and information science, folding paper cranes for her small business Make-A-Crane, and working as an assistant at MIT Sloan School of Management. Her novella, THE LITTLE QUEEN, is forthcoming in 2017. She can be found @meiageddes or www.meiageddes.com.
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