April was Poetry Month and I was lucky enough to win a giveaway organised by Wolsak & Wynn Publishers. I chose the collection written by Julie McIsaac We Like Feelings. We Are Serious. as the blurb sounded interesting and the comments on the cover of the book were positive.
In a powerful combination of prose poems, graphica, lyric poems and lyric essays, Julie McIsaac’s new book is at once fiercely political, intimate and hilarious. We Like Feelings. We Are Serious. is an exploded view of contemporary feminism, sex, loss, beauty myths, self-doubt, psychology, menstruation, resistance, family and love. Intellectually dazzling, emotionally lavish and allergic to bullshit, this is a book that is timely, refreshing and wholly original.
This collection is divided into the different eras of feminism: from post-activism to the current experience. Mostly the voice of the writing is that of a woman – a rebelling woman, a young woman, a woman who finds herself in a marriage. The few times a man’s voice is used, it is to highlight the way in which women are often viewed.
There were a few poems that I enjoyed in the collection. They spoke to my experience and I understood them. I got the references to women’s lives and the symbols the poet had used. However, there were many more pieces that I did not understand, or see what she was referring to. The words made no sense to me no matter how many times I read them. McIsaac’s writing will not reach everybody as not all readers will grasp what it is she is saying. I do feel that this is an unfortunate downfall of the collection.
I was a little disappointed when I opened the book to see that not all pieces are poetry. Many pieces are prose – and a couple are written as a screenplay. Some of the graphics make an interesting addition to the collection. However, the repetition of one particular graphic did annoy me and was, I believe, a little overdone.
Even though I enjoyed reading some of the pieces in We Like Feelings. We Are Serious. the pieces I did not understand or get the references to ruined my overall impression of the book.
I was fortunate to win a giveaway for National Poetry Month held by Wolsak & Wynn Publishers. I chose to receive the poetry collection written by Julie McIsaac.
Many of the pieces encourage me to think – about what has been written, and about how the poem reflects my own experience. I share one of the pieces with you:
“They took the bus downtown and when they arrived they sat next to a great fountain. They threw pennies in and made wishes. Then they clipped their hair and planted it in the dirty weeds that sprouted through the concrete next to where the fountain was built. They made more wishes. They thought future. She said nothing. (p14, Wolsak & Wynn, 2018)
The pieces in this collection are definitely raw and to the point. I still have many to read and know that they will not be easy reading.
(I wrote this thinking how, in a large city, we are surrounded by people and yet are so alone. We are living in an era where depression is prevalent and yet, I believe, it would not be so if people were not so alone and had the companionship of others).
Are you social? In what ways do you spend time with others?
It was fear that brought us to this place so far away from home.
Fear of crime,
Fear of injury,
Fear of death.
It was fear that drove us to move away,
From the imbalances that affect our country’s security.
It was fear for our children’s lives,
Fear for their future,
That drove us to fly across the world.
It was fear for our children that motivated us,
Each and every day,
To not give up.
To strive for that moment when
All we feel is hope.
Hope for the future.
Hope for the children.
And hope that it is not all in vain.
If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here.
As you all know, it was my daughter’s birthday party last Saturday and our living room was filled with the sound of teenage voices. Some of these girls have been friends with my daughter for many years and I have enjoyed seeing them grow up together. As they come each year to celebrate, I try to send them home each time with a little something different. “Loot bags” have contained items such as a picture book, a set of pens and crayons, costume jewellery, hair clips, and last year even a novel. I decided to go with something completely different this year – a pot of flowers.
I went to the nursery and decided on mini daffodils. They looked bright and suggested the beauty of spring. It is still a little cold at the moment so I thought it would be a good idea to bring the warmth of the season into each young girl’s room.
The gifts were taken with smiles of pleasure. I did not, however, forget about my home. The few extra pots I had bought, I transferred into a bigger pot and put on my coffee table. We now have a little yellow brightness in our living room to enjoy each day.
The sight of Daffodils always reminds me of Wordsworth’s poem, I wandered lonely as a Cloud, that I read when I was in high school:
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills, When all at once I saw a crowd A host of dancing Daffodils; Along the Lake, beneath the trees, Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.
The waves beside them danced, but they Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: – A poet could not but be gay In such a laughing company: I gaz’d – and gaz’d – but little thought What wealth the shew to me had brought:
For oft when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude, And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the Daffodils.
William Wordsworth Poems in Two Volumes: Moods of my Mind 7 (1807)
Unlike Wordsworth, I have never seen fields of daffodils. How beautiful it must be for him to have written a poem about it, or to even remember when relaxing on his couch.