by Elise Paschen
Ren Hen Press | 75 pp | $16.89
Monica Whitepigeon in Entertainment. Discussion »
Poetry does not always follow specific rules. Not every line or every other line must rhyme, but a rhythm is typically present. Not all Native poetry is about being Native, but Native values are typically present. Good poets design their pieces to inspire, to connect, and to affect.
"Bestiary" is the latest book from Osage poet Elise Paschen, winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, that explores family values, love, and loss. It is a culmination of forty different poems over a decade in the making. The book is a fast read, but has many memorable poems that speak to readers on various levels.
It becomes apparent that each poem is placed in a specific order that leads up to the next. The poems have inspired one another and set a pace for the reader to follow.
"Bestiary" has many analogies referring to animals while keeping humans as the main focus. For instance, "Monarch" holds reference to both the butterfly and an unborn ruler. Nature is an ever present force of these poems that help explain the human experience. This is where the reader gets a glimpse of Pachen's Native heritage.
Paschen is currently a writing teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is the co-founder of "Poetry in Motion," a nationwide program that displays poetry quotes throughout city's transit. She has also edited many anthologies and submitted many poems to anthologies such as "Poetry Speaks to Children" and "The New Republic."
The poems vary in form and rhythm keeping the reader intrigued and inspired. Many of the poems have special dedications to various people throughout Paschen's life. It is clear that this is a book of heart and speaks of love.
posted March 31, 2012 8:50 am edt
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