Oblique Music: A Book of Hours
by Elizabeth Bodien
Hearkening back to the medieval devotional books of hours used for daily prayer, poet Elizabeth Bodien takes notice of ordinary moments throughout the day, making them into opportunities for extraordinary attention and reverence.
ISBN: 978-1-947067-70-7 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Released January 2019
Elizabeth Bodien grew up in the “burned-over” district of western New York State, but now lives near Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania. She holds degrees in cultural anthropology, consciousness studies, religions, and poetry. She has worked as an instructor of English in Japan; an organic farmer in the mountains of Oregon; a childbirth instructor in Ghana, West Africa; and as a professor of anthropology. Her poems, essays, and book reviews have appeared in Cimarron Review, Crannóg, and Parabola, among many other publications in the United States, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and India. Her collections are: Plumb Lines; Rough Terrain: Notes of an Undutiful Daughter, which is about her mother’s decline with Alzheimer’s; Endpapers; I Sing the Undersung; and Blood, Metal, Fiber, Rock. She has appeared on television and radio and taught workshops on poetry and poetics. Currently she is working on a collection of her trance writings.
"Oblique Music" is a wonderful and welcome collection of tanka by Elizabeth Bodien. The collection is broken down by sections of the metaphorical day, and each is filled with tanka that consistently flow off the mind and tongue, confessing and expressing the ups and downs of the poet's life. There is not only depth to the tanka in Oblique Music, but there is width. This combination allows the person holding the book to not only read, but explore and experience what it has to offer, and there is much being offered."
"Elizabeth Bodien, an accomplished tanka writer, uses the format of the Book of Hours to parallel her day in poems—poems rooted so deeply in nature you feel that she, herself, must be similarly rooted in the solidity of the earth. Her poems, like the best tanka, are steeped in nostalgia, such as memories of her recently deceased mother and herself when young—'I don't want to forget.' She accepts her own past philosophically—"oh, the changes, the changes, asked or unasked for,' and 'after the growing, the cutting back.' Yet she offers the reader and herself continued hope—'I intend to grow sharper to landscapes that matter.' Her images throughout are startling and fresh—'A fish and chips sky looking seaside and worn' and 'the air feels old-fashioned.' This is truly an original collection of tanka that held me from the first and made me reluctantly turn the final page."
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