Tag Archives: poetry book review

My Review of The Queen Of Metaphors: The Tongue Of My Muse by Anahit Arustamyan

My Review of The Queen Of Metaphors: The Tongue Of My Muse by Anahit Arustamyan

( Available as a paperback and as an E-book on Amazon. )
( First posted on Goodreads, Amazon.UK and Amazon.com )

Anahit Arustamyan writes like no other. She is a real one, a true poet, I think. She has created her own corner to write in, free of all other styles and schools. Prose poems, she calls her works, which is what they are. They are never prosaic, however, but always pure poetry, high and fine. Each of her works is presented as a short paragraph with the occasional use of rhyme, The rhymes always seem natural, never forced. Only she knows how she came to write in her unique prose poem style. An original voice such as hers is rare and deserves to be heard by many. In her lines, her spirit speaks. She writes from the root, not the surface. The hurt in her heart, caused by sorrows in her past and that of her land of Armenia, she reveals in her prose poems, but also her love of life and her desire to venture into new places and experiences.
It does not matter to me what form a poem is written in, from the sonnet to the haiku to free verse with no capital letters or punctuation, it is memorable, quotable lines that makes a poem stand out and last. There is the old complaint, said in jest, that the problem with the works of William Shakespeare is that they are full of quotes. That is one reason why his works have lasted, they are alive with memorable, quotable lines. All the poets, ancient and modern, that have endured, had the same rare gift, they could write lines that you feel glad to have read and want to remember. What marks the work of Anahit Arustamyan out for me, apart from her original prose poem style, is her gift to write memorable, quotable lines. It is one you can only be born with, not be taught.
“Let’s drop some mint into our sour wine!” So she writes in her prose poem, We Have Talk With Our Time, included in her new book, The Queen Of Metaphors: The Tongue Of My Muse, to encourage and inspire her fellow writers of her time. A line that to me is a poem in itself. Each of her prose poems contain such memorable lines.
My Wandering Muse, My Lyrical Tongue, The Phantom’s Dolphin, her first three books, I found a pleasure to read and review. Her new book is wonderful, too. I like that in her prose poems her spirit does not dwell on itself alone. It comes as a pleasant shock when from a prose poem about her inner life, her regrets and longings, she turns her attention outward, to focus on the plight of illegal immigrants, for example, or the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers of New York, or the tragic time in the history of her own land, which she refers to as the Armenian genocide. In one prose poem, she writes movingly of the history of her home city, Yerevan. “I have bound my spine to your sculpted neck,” she tells Yerevan. “My proud city, you never knelt.”
In some ways her works remind me of the meditative poems of China and Japan I have read in English translation. In a prose poem called Bound To My Eyes, for example, I particularly liked the line: “No winter leaves at once as the sky admires its icy moustache.” Another prose poem begins with the wonderful Oriental verse sounding line: “Look! These snowflakes are flying like white butterflies.” Some of her lines conjure images as strange as those in a surrealist painting, like this one: “Life is a mirage riding a scooter.” I was moved by her poem for her father, another for her mother. I liked the serenity of Sail My Dreams, in which she states: “My violin will sound in your rain.” In one prose poem, she warns: “The Armenian Genocide happened long ago but any forgiven crime forges another bloody sword.”
I rarely read a novel more than once, even those I like best, but a good poem I can return to again and again. I have found that because the prose poems of Anahit Arustamyan are rarely clear, direct, but more like riddles, mazes, each time I read one of them again it is as if it was for the first time. That is rare, indeed. I like the title of her new book, The Queen Of Metaphors. To me, it could have two meanings. It could refer to the poet herself as the queen of metaphors or to the queen of Metaphors, being an ancient, forgotten city in Greece. I like the cover of her book, too. It is a mysterious blur of a picture, of a woman in a long white dress, stepping out of what looks like the tangle of a wood, towards the onlooker.
There is always a sadness I feel when reading or reviewing a poetry book, knowing that not many people write and like to read poetry. Perhaps those that do ought to realise what that means and seek each other out and support each other more. A poet with a voice as original as that of Anahit Arustamyan deserves to be heard, not by a few, but by many.

Advertisements

Review of The Phantom’s Dolphin by Anahit Arustamyan

Review of The Phantom’s Dolphin by Anahit Arustamyan.

Here is my review of The Phantom’s Dolphin by Anahit Arustamyan, which I have posted on Goodreads and on Amazon.com

Having enjoyed reading the first two books by Anahit Arustamyan, My Wandering Muse and My Lyrical Tongue, I was eager to read her new one, The Phantom’s Dolphin. Certainly, her new book is as good as her first two.  From the first page, her words held me in their spell. “Poetry in prose. Philosophical and lyrical poems expressing wisdom and romantic feelings.” Such is the way she describes her works. Born in Armenia, she has found her own unique way of expressing her thoughts and feelings in the English language, of which she has a great command.

The mind likes puzzles. It also likes to solve them. Each of her prose poems, as she describes them, is a puzzle, a riddle with questions posed but never answered, a maze entered with no way out found. So she is a maze maker, a puzzle creator, but with no solutions, resolutions. Out on the sea, she finds no harbour. Her questioning, questing spirit asks questions of dolphins, cranes and other birds, without expecting answers. She writes very finely. Even those who have read a lot of poetry in different styles will be refreshed to find that her poems are unique, like no other. Her poems are often moving, like when she writes of the death of her only brother, and some are disturbing, as when she speaks of what she calls the Armenian genocide.

Each one of her poems are worth quoting in full, but as quite a few of her lines are addressed to a dolphin, here is one called White Dolphin, to give an idea of the mood and style of her book:

“Who are you, white dolphin? What are you searching for in this mysterious sea? Are you a wanderer like me? Who knows what the waves may pledge? Are you a sailor, white dolphin? Do you know why the boats flee? I have found you not to leave the sea for a blind coffin. Let me cling to your fin! The naked truth isn’t bound to the lips of the sea. That’s why the boats creep into the sky’s sleeves. I have nothing but my blenching dreams. Is the naked truth bound to a smoky inn? The minds are taking off their clothes in the inn’s feast. Who knows what is hidden in the mist? The boats still flee without hearing their own din. White dolphin! I have found you to cling to your fin.”

Anahit Arustamyan deserves to have her books read by many people. She is a fine, original writer. Like her first two books, My Wandering Muse and My Lyrical Tongue, The Phantom’s Dolphin is a great book, a wonderful maze to wander in, an absorbing puzzle to study.

My Wandering Muse, My Lyrical Tongue and The Phantom’s Dolphin by Anahit Arustamyan can be found on Amazon.com Amazon U.K. and Lulu. She posts her poems on poetry sites on Face Book such as Uncaged Emotions, Poetry and Literary Feast.