Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Book Review: "The Gleaming Clouds" (Murray Alfredson)

Poetry collections are all too often overlooked unless you're trapped in a literature class in high school or college.

And yet there's something about poetry that speaks to something within each of us that prose simply can't reach. The diction, the mouthfeel, the tone, the voice of a poem heightens meanings both literal and personalized so that reading a poem becomes an experience by itself.

Former librarian, lecturer, Buddhist chaplain, and poet Murray Alfredson captures something positively transcendental in his poetry collection, The Gleaming Clouds, interspersed with beautiful artwork by Jyoti.

Stylistically, Alfredson's poems are free-form, sometimes with end-rhymes (I suspect unintentionally, for the most part) but more often filled with the poignant and evocative sounds that naturally emerge from well-chosen words carefully placed in lines and stanzas: internal rhymes, alliteration, assonance, and more (remember those terms from your last English class?).

In content, the poems range over a wide variety of topics, from mythology to Buddhist belief to Biblical accounts, from social commentary to unexpected perspectives to messages to (or for) friends and testaments to family. Even if all of them do not speak to every reader, each of them will say something memorable and even life-changing to more than one reader over the course of the collection's tenure.

The final section of the anthology consists of translations of poems taken from Old Norse, Middle High German, and New High German time periods and languages. These translations are stunningly rendered into English, with cunning precision and the kind of delicacy only an impassioned poet could wield. Personal favorites include "The Kurenberger's Falcon Song," from the twelfth century, and "Presence," adapted from Goethe's work.

Never underestimate the power of a poem to elevate your outlook, spur your imagination, coddle your muse, frustrate your assumptions, and paint the world a brighter hue than you knew existed. The Gleaming Clouds achieves all that, and more.

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Poet: Murray Alfredson
Title: The Gleaming Clouds
ISBN: 978-1922120410
Purchase here: http://amzn.to/1BiKSwB

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the author in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

1 comment:

  1. Good one yaar.. Very informative.. Do we have any pdf format for this.?
    Am searching for good spoken English class in Chennai. Saw this page Top 10 Spoken English training centres in chennai on net. Is this good one.?


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