Diving into a poetry collection images swim passed, metaphors transmogrify, elemental, ideas become physical things, physical things become ideas. It takes time to take it all in. I grow into my reviews. Once entered collections stay, sink into me, my reviews grow slowly in time. I will add to this review and the others over time.
Amantine Brodeur’s poetry and fiction has appeared in numerous online and print journals,
among these, in paragraphplanet, December 2019, Deep Time, Volume One, 2020, published by Black
Bough Poetry, iamb- quarterly journal and poet library, wave three, summer 2020, Pink Plastic House Journal, July 2020, Pendemic.ie, August 2020, and in the online and print anthology 100 Words of Solitude, edited by Philippa and Simon Holloway and published by Rare Swan Press 2021. Her piece on Beckettian women, written on the 30th anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s death in 2019, is featured in Thrice Fiction, Volume 2, Issue No 1, December 2020. alongside Ann Bogle, Eckhard Gerdes and Franny Forsman. Her piece Solitude is part of the Alternative Stories and Fake Realities podcast featuring the 100 Words of
Solitude project directed and produced in the UK by Chris Gregory. Her second poetry collection augustea is due for release soon.
- How did you decide on the order of the poetry in your book?
The original collection came about after several years of reclusiveness following the suicide of my closest friend. It was an attempt to work through the loss of her and other very dear friends over the years. I had submitted it for publication and withdrew it. It sat untouched until 2019 when I took a look and decided I was not entirely happy with the original selection and ‘took it apart’ – I was after something a little broader in scope in respect of its themes of love and loss. There was a body of work written around that time which tied in with more recent pieces I’d written and so I started from scratch using Falling Slowly dedicated to my friend who took her life and worked ‘outward’ as it were listening to the works and how they ‘spoke’ to those around them. I gave the initial draft to Marcelle and from there it became a process of editing and selection through discussion and her critical feedback. Some poems were culled and replaced while the ms was also read by a select few whose feedback was also taken into account. Several poems were also heavily edited during this process as is always the case and so really, the final selection has been a deeply collaborative process.
2. What are you poetic influences?
It’s funny because during much of this time – a decade or more from which this collection is gathered I wrote way more than I read- I’ve just been going through an old file that runs to a staggering 3740 pages of Gogyohka (1) written between 2009 and 2012 – that aside from numerous unfinished collections up to 2017 – so if anything my influences likely came from much earlier. I’ve been told more than once my work reads like this or that poet, and in every instance it was the first I’d heard of them- something which I took as a compliment somehow and which reinforced in me that my work is headed in the right direction. Many of the poems written in this collection, when read at the time of writing, by strangers, took me to be a man – so there’s that ambiguity at play too, which I find interesting. As far as writers who remain with me – it is broad and eclectic; from Apollinaire, Bréton, to Steinbeck, Auden, Yeats, Joyce, Nin, Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell, Octavio Paz, Lorca, Garcia Llosa, Rilke, Herman Hesse, Milan Kundera, Adrienne Rich, Woolf, to Nathalie Handal, to Brecht, Tom Waits, Simic, Ali Liebegott, Angifi Dladla and list of stunning African poets – I could go on and on – and then there’s Sonia Sanchez, Ferdinand Pessoa and Philip F Clark whose ‘Carnival of Affection’ just stops me dead in my tracks. Not sure how any this helps you..
(1) From Wkipedia:
Gogyohka（五行歌） is a five-line, untitled, Japanese poetic form. Unlike tanka (57577 syllables), Gogyohka has no restrictions on length.
Poets such as Kenji Miyazawa, Jun Ishiwara, Yūgure Maeda, Hakushu Kitahara, Toson Yashiro and Shinobu Orikuchi have written five-line poetry as free-style tankas since the Taishō period around the 1910s. However, they did not name the form.
In 1983, Enta Kusakabe named it Gogyohka (五行歌) and for the first time laid out the five rules of five-line poetry. He trademarked Gogyohka in Japan. The form of English Gogyohka is the same as that of free English tanka because both are untitled and are written in five free lines. As of 2018 at least five Gogyohka magazines existed: Gogyohka, Hamakaze, Minami no kaze, Sai and Kojimachi club.
Five rules of Gogyohka by Enta Kusakabe (1983).
- Gogyohka is a new form of short poem that is based on the ancient Japanese Tanka and Kodai kayo.
- Gogyohka has five lines, but exceptionally may have four or six.
- Each line of Gogyohka consists of one phrase with a line-break after each phrase or breath.
- Gogyohka has no restraint on numbers of words or syllables.
- The theme of Gogyohka is unrestricted.
“This collection is where I began to reflecting on what it means to be woman and how it feels to experience love, life, loss and betrayal through a feminine gaze.”
from “A note from the author“
It is the fluidity of Amantine’s poetry that strikes me first. “Falling Slowly”. Inner and outer indistinguishable. Fluid movement between both. Blocks of text. Imagery evolves out of imagery. It is a brilliant, amazing read from page to page. Inspirational. A book to dip into when your creative process is not operating correctly. Her book acts as oil to get the gears working again.