Reviews - What do customers think about Here from Away?
A lively spontaneous book of verses Feb 5, 2006
Although Kate Benedict definitely writes accomplished poetry in the scholastic sense, her poetry is accessible, with an emphasis on the crafting of each line. She often arranges words in a straightforward narrative fashion, but her ear for sound and her ability with poetics give each selection a musical tone. Many of the poems linger in the reader's mind once the book is closed.
In the poem "Supplication," the speaker repeats a single line in iambics, "Come back to bed, come lie with me", in each of five tercets. All the poems evoke a formal feeling, even in those without a strict metrical pattern or consistent rhyme. The repetend in "Supplication" sets a song-like tone for a graceful plea, and speaks to those who are in a long-term relationship with a lover or spouse.
What strikes about this book involves language that is rendered in what seems to be an uncomplicated manner, but that delivers complexity. In the poem, "Expedition in Mid-life," the speaker offers philosophy wrapped in rhyme:
"...From here on in, I won't be climbing any mountains, only descending, descending, but the wisdom of the climb I ponder in my blood and in the marrow of my spine, slowly bending."
Benedict's collection contains poems that are playful as well. In "The Forgotten Prophets," she pays homage to prophets who turned out to be wrong--something most of us don't think about. This sonnet is a delightful exploration of prophets such as the hapless individual who advised Lord Cornwallis that his victory was certain. The poet dramatizes the prophecy with humor as she speaks of the lord's prophet:
"Cornwallis's, I hope, was somehow spared, who told the bloke, 'No sweat. You'll clean their clocks' and turned the old-world order upside down."
Poems like this one would be very effective when presented to an audience, because they engage the reader's interest and most of them are constructed in a manner that the ear can follow.
Kate Benedict's Here from Away is a book designed with an attractive cover and quality paper stock. It's typeset in Baskerville, a typeface that falls in between old and modern styles, and the typeface is perfect for the sort of poetry she writes. Normally, a typestyle wouldn't warrant mention, but because her verse falls between formal and free aesthetics, for this reader, Baskerville made a sort of poetic statement all its own .
These poems make up a lively collection full of surprises and they reflect a poet's sound capability with verse, with emphasis on the word verse.
Energising Feb 28, 2004
Accessible, versatile, accomplished,compassionate, yes. And in parts very, very funny. Benedict's 'Rienelle' was in itself well worth the purchase price of the volume to this mildly cynical reader: No meaning, no import, no point, no wit. I speak of nothing, not even weather. I've nothing to say and I'm saying it.
Her elegy for the Iranian conjoined twins was vivid and touching without the least hint of false sentimentality.
The vignettes of life in a New York apartment building illuminate corners unfamiliar to those of us who know her city mainly through TV, film or popular fiction.
If, however, I was asked for one word to apply to the collection it would be 'energising'. Which is why I'm about to order a copy as a present for a good friend.