Wednesday, April 21, 2010

not really a review, but a good one

I was prepared to not like this. Given the typical record of entertainers who decide they are poets (Jewel, Billy Corgan), I was prepared to read a couple of poems, laugh outloud, and toss it aside. Of course, this got me thinking how unfair my predisposition toward such books was, and why shouldn't an actor or musician also be able to write poetry any less than a doctor, or lawyer, or librarian, who pursue other career paths to make a living. I myself would never identify myself as solely a poet, moreso as someone who does alot of creative things, of which poetry is the dominant form (at sometimes more than others)...So why should poet/entertainers make me roll my eyes so much? Granted, it's usually pretty bad. Jewel's book sounded like my 14 year old diary broken into lines, and badly at that. Corgan's Blinking with Fists sounded like he was trying to impersonate Robert Burns, despite his skill as a lyricist for Smashing Pumpkins. Both were published by pretty fancy high profile presses as well (HarperCollins and Faber & Faber), which of course added insult to injury, especially since neither of these publish all that much contemporary poetry anyway--and apparently, if you were famous enough, they would publish even your crappiest book. But in this case, I will readily admit I was wrong. This book was actually pretty freaking good. There were a few rough patches, as with any first book, and it tended to be a bit more traditional than innovative in it's aesthetic, but there was quite a bit to love in there. Unlike my two examples above, Tamblyn actually appears to, you know, READ contemporary poetry, and it shows. I was very pleasantly surprised.


Robby said...

I actually haven't even heard of this book before.
I've been so hesitant to read Jewel's poetry. Now I will definately stay away.

Stephanie Goehring said...

It's actually not her first book. She released a book that was, I think, some kind of collection of really early writing from her teen years with some newer stuff (at the time) in the first few years in her twenties. I'm not a fan of her poetry, per se, but I definitely get what you're saying about how she actually does have a talent for writing poems, unlike some of the other celebs you mentioned. I think she could have an interesting future in writing.

This has some good moments in it: