Read Waiting for Bluebeard by Helen Ivory Free Online
Book Title: Waiting for Bluebeard|
The author of the book: Helen Ivory
ISBN 13: 9781852249755
Edition: Bloodaxe Books
Date of issue: October 1st 2013
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 540 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.9
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Often poems are consumed one at a time, online, but 'Waiting for Bluebeard' demonstrates how that old-fashioned thing - a collection - possesses a special value.
Poems may make more 'sense' when gathered up together. This is both true and false in Helen Ivory's case. Despite the extreme simplicity, the pared-down quality of her work, there is something consistently odd - oblique - about the world she evokes. It's like reading work in a foreign language, which superficially resembles English - and having to get by without a glossary. A quick internet trawl revealed that she has been influenced by the Serbian poet, Vasko Popa. I wasn't surprised. Like writers from Eastern Europe, there's a sense of writing that needs to be coded. Explicit statements might be very dangerous indeed.
Collectively though, the reader is able to build up a picture of an unstable world. Objects are constantly transforming themselves. Animals behave like familiars. Blood relatives hover on the periphery. It's a noir fairy tale, in which - as the collection's title suggests - the chances of a 'happy ever after' are very slim indeed.
A sequence in the book's second part is called 'Disappearing'. It's as if in these (very short) poems, liberation can only be achieved by removing all the ordinary clutter of selfhood, and then slipping away from our sight.
I wasn't sure that the collection needed to have been divided into two parts. To me it felt as if there's been some (editorial?) attempt to impose a reassuring narrative structure on a set of poems whose logic belongs to the uneasy world of nightmare, not that of every day.
As an author Helen Ivory reminds me of Scheherazade, serving up one glittering fable after another until she makes her escape - leaving us to wonder quite how this was achieved..
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