I thought reviewing poetry books would be a fine idea, considering that I enjoy reading poems so very much.
This is not a review though.
It is a feeling of wonder about what a book can do. The Mara Crossing is the extremely erudite Ruth Padel’s homage to migration. The Mara Crossing itself refers to the Serengeti wildebeest migration phenomenon
But the term Migration is so all-encompassing that it is perfect poetry book material. When you write a book of poems it would be good idea to have some kind of theme that can hold your poems together though this is by all means not essential.
In this book, migration translates into so many ideas.
It could be a flock of birds in their tell-tale V/Streaming cells in a mother’s womb lining up to create a foetus./ It could be the flow of stems and roots and flowers that populate the earth/ the flow of rivers into their seas./The march of people to different beats/ the beached whale/ the wars that make people give up everything they know to gain one thing- living/ the flow of the gene/ the spread of disease.
The book is written in prosimetrum – a migratory experience in itself as the poet moves from prose to poetry and again.
The prose explains the premise of the poems. Each poem is crafted with so much scholarship and encyclopaedic accuracy. I found myself going to the dictionary many times- on my phone and the big dictionary on my shelf as well. A migration in itself- the absorption in the sentence turning into a search for meaning, something to pin it down. In the search something is always lost, something gained.
I have a sense of renewed respect for the Bird, Insect, Plant and Humankind, for all things that travel through time. A sense of Yugen- a Japanese word that means a sense of unexplained wonder at the world, in my case wonder at a book.
If you do read The Mara Crossing, tell me what you think.
Check out my book Unsettled @ the Indireads Book Store: http://indireads.com/books/unsettled