Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Review of two for a journey by Carol Frith

Review of two for a journey by Carol Frith, David Robert Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 95 pages, $18, 2010

By Barbara Bialick

I first reviewed Carol Frith for her chapbook Looking for Montrose Street in 2009. I called it “a good and powerful little book”—This full-length collection is not only good, great and powerful, but highly ambitious with it’s mixture of deep, image-packed lyrical lines of free verse about her “journey” through life with her husband, poet Laverne Frith, and its amazing set of 15 sonnets interwoven together in “The Neighbor’s Rose.” There are other formal poems as well. However I have to admit I was frustrated toward the end of the book when she presented more sonnets and more sonnets. These weren’t as masterfully woven into the marital love story and should have been left out in my opinion. Too structured for the the “two-getherness” of the rest of the book, and dull in comparison.

I’ll just give some examples of good poetry… “It is morning. The wind is gone. Pink sailboats/flutter on the blue bay. There are wrecks/everywhere, you tell me, submerged and dangerous/I am confused by the flickering pink scribbled/in the sky and water: Little candles of paint…”

Or, “All day tomorrow, on a narrow path/near water, you will button/and unbutton your shirt, bringing/full sentences outside into/the air…”

And this lovely line: “We live inside of each other’s closed eyes.”

It is difficult to just pick a quote from the sonnets called “The Neighbor’s Rose.” Everything is interconnected: “the air begins to seethe inside the room…”. On the other hand, perhaps she caged the couple into this intense structure just when they were having marital structure problems. Between the “formal” and the “free” works in this book, I think a lot of poets would do well to read what Frith is doing. It is interesting and fresh.

Carol and Lavern Frith live in Sacramento, California where they edit the journal Ekphrasis, which publishes poems addressing works of art. Clearly someone would do well to write a poem about the work of art called two for a journey…

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