Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Review: "O, Time..."

"O, time..." by Victoria Roshe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Victoria Roshe writes poems about ordinary day to day things, but with a touch of the mystical or the divine in each one. She isn't fond of titles, apparently, as there are none in this book, thereby making it difficult to talk about specific poems. They don't even have numbers. I'll do my best with quotes and opening lines, while discussing them.

She writes about writing quite remarkably. I loved the poem which begins, "My Goodness, don't allow me to debase" on page 19, which is about writing in the real world, with and despite critics and ugliness, and yet still ending up one step from Goodness "and a hundred steps from them." I also loved "To the devil the devil the devil--" on page 23, with its disdain for acclaim, publication, and other tangible rewards of writing, in favor of simply believing in her gift and offering it all up to God. Written in prose, as I've done, doesn't do it justice; you have to read her verse!

Her favorite subject is being a mother, with many poems about her children. In being able to provide "A ball? A cookie? Binky? And a pear?/ I have it all. And I am nearly God."

She also writes about the mail, doves, and a black cat, imbuing them all with a certain everyday holiness that she is especially gifted at expressing. The poems are translated from Russian by Andrey Kneller and both Russian and English texts are included. Recommended.

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