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In My Dreams Neruda

ISBN: 1-59948-004-2

By Katie Kingston

Review by: Moira Richards


Katie Kingston's style of poetry reminds me of a thickly woven tapestry - richly colored, textured, evocative - words that engage all of the reader's senses. Her poetry often does not have a strong line of narrative and instead she seems to write allusively and sometimes surrealistically.


For instance, she starts one poem, in fact the last in the chapbook, with the lines,

 We wash our hands in daughters

over platters of oranges and saffron

                                                        (When Jana Meets for Lunch)


and continues down her page, with an evocation of colors and memories in a celebration of a certain kind of woman of, perhaps, that certain age too.


In another piece, an ekphrastic poem, the narrator tells a painter,


I want to enter the breast in one of your paintings

the way a swimmer enters the river, the bob of head

towing the body. This could be about touch ...      

                                                                   (River Canvas)


 and so she does - immerse herself into a picture of color mixed with sounds like,


      ... maples,

their variegated palms quivering; farmer spewing

fragments of dust-colored echoes from his thresher.

                                                                   (River Canvas)



I don't know much of the work of Neruda, but since the title and the first poem of Katie's chapbook bear his name, I'm assuming that his poetry has been an inspiration to her. The narrator of the opening poem says of the man that,


                                      ... he brings me cenote water

tasting of sacrificial virgins, their palms of spring green.


He brings me Chilean snow, its laughter like a child

on a swing. ...


                   ... he brings a half grapefruit, serrated,

ready for the tongue. It transforms my language....

                                                                             (In My Dreams Neruda)



How wonderful to have a muse like Pablo Neruda to inspire such rich poetry. But to give credit where it is due, I think a muse can only do so little and kudos should go to Katie Kingston for the poems she has created in In My Dreams Neruda.


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