surprised to read what I wrote

Posted by Daniela Elza on Apr 13 2007

I was pleasantly surprised to find some excerpts of book reviews I had written a few years back. I will link to them here, since I miss them after my previous blog went down:

I found two pieces on geometry‘s website.

On Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces:

“Some stones are so heavy only silence helps you carry them,” says a character in this highly poetic novel. Despite that, Anne Michaels finds a voice full of love and compassion to talk about a dark and painful period of history laid on a platter of Fugitive Pieces. Reading this book I was immersed in a river of revelations that keeps flowing long after the last page of the novel is turned. A river that runs into the present and informs with its embrace of the human condition seen through the eyes of a seven year old Holocaust survivor, Jakob. With pure linguistic delight landscapes of places and minds are drawn with a cartographers passion. “Terra Cognita and Terra Incognita inhabit exactly the same coordinates of time and space.” There will always be maps for us to draw. We still get lost in the landscapes of mind, of human, of spirit and face ourselves in all the beauty and all the ugliness we are capable of creating. This book unfolds one leaf, one word at a time. “Every moment is two moments.”

followed by:

“After reading Fugitive Pieces I looked up Anne Michaels’ poetry. I came up with: The Weight of Oranges/Miner’s Pond (1997) and Skin Divers (1999). I was not disappointed. There is something delicious in the way she arranges words and forces them to transcend and abandon their individual meanings. At her touch they melt into a the kind of honey that good writers make after carefully digesting the silences and sounds of what it is to be alive today. As Anne Michaels puts it herself, “Art emerges from silence/silence, from one’s place in the world.” For me she holds language up to the light and we can learn to love it just from the way she lets the light go through. Intelligent? Yes. Visual? yes. Sensual? In a very real, getting-under-your-skin kind of way. What is even more she uses all those attributes to talk about the human condition, about memory, about truth, light and relationships. To the point where after reading a poem you feel there is so much more she may have to say. Thus Fugitive Pieces works especially well as a follow up to her poetry.”

I also happened upon the punch line of a book review I wrote for Quill’s Canadian Poetry Magazine in two places and Harbour Publishing website. Here is the excerpt from my review of Go Leaving Strange by Patrick Lane:

“Go Leaving Strange is a book of coming to terms with the erosion of a mountain, yet if we hold a piece of it the way Lane does, we may see the mountain, its beauty what perfects us in the moment.”

I put these up not just from the nostalgia that comes from finding some part of you, finding a place where a part of you dwells, but also realizing how you recognize some parts of the past you, and some not (which makes you say: I wrote that?), and some parts, you recognize have threaded their way to the present. So it is like seeing some of you then, now.

2 Responses to “surprised to read what I wrote”

  1. JAC Says:

    Hello Daniela,
    Let me re-introduce myself. I am Jacqueline…the wife of “Principal Glenn” that you met at Alexanders Restaurant in Saskatoon during Congress 2007.
    I told you I would look at your blog….which I have just entered this morning and took a quick peek at. It’s beautiful and I cannot wait to actually read it. (I am at work at the moments so i’ll have to wait!!)
    It was great to have met you, I look forward to getting to know you alittle bit through your work.
    Have a terrific day!

  2. Daniela Elza Says:

    HI Jacqueline,

    It was great to talk with you and your husband. I had a great time at the CSSE/CAFE Conference. I found the university so beautiful as well as the people I met. I felt very welcome in Saskatoon, and was pleasantly surprised with the response to my work. People in education encouraged me, philosophers encouraged me, and when I did my presentation there was a red chili-pepper wall in the room which was perfect setting for one of the poems, and a beam of light on the floor, which was the perfect setting for another poem I read. I like when things work out that way. It almost gave *me* goosbumps.

    Looking forward to our conversations. I suppose that you will relate to Gaston Bachelard and his “Poetics of Space.”
    Thanks for your work in helping with Congress 2007.