Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ballroom – a love story Christine Klocek-Lim

Ballroom – a love story
Christine Klocek-Lim
Flutter Press
$6.50 on Lulu.com

Review by Rene Schwiesow

Klocek-Lim, the editor of Autumn Sky Poetry, an international poetry journal, wrote “Ballroom – a love story” during NaPoWriMo in 2011.  Taking on the task of writing a poem a day for Klocek-Lim produced a series of poems about the pain, challenge, commitment, weariness and bliss of dance lessons.  From Waltz to Cha-Cha she utilizes fresh phrases to show us images of the dances, the dancer, and the connection to a dance partner and the environment. 

If you have ever taken dance lessons you will find yourself either identifying with the way the poet relates to the lessons or surprised at the differing perspective from your own.  Either way, you will be opened up to seeing a panoramic view that includes the room, the ceiling, the lights, the people, the feet, the shuffling – however graceful or awkward the movement can be.

We swing into line of dance, the floor so smooth
I can almost see my face, a ghost blurred in the wax. . .

we hurtle around the room once, twice, then I catch
our teacher in the mirrors, her forehead surprised, wistful.

The room, itself, becomes part of the dance and voyeur all at the same time and Klocek-Lim tosses in gems such as:

The lights are on.
Dust bunnies gossiping
in corners.

And I’m certain I will remember that line the next time I notice dust bunnies in the corner of an unswept room. . .leave them alone. . .they are gossiping.

On occasion the reading left me wondering why dance; why put one’s self into a place where there is clearly pain and angst?

My mother finds me in the kitchen
with ice and bandages, foot propped. . .

My bruise looks like Argentina,
a forest of color.

Then Klocek-Lim deftly weaves in a beautiful image:

She says, now turn her again
and he unwraps me like a candied chocolate.
An exotic pear, un-netted.

She leaves us, as many women do, with the accoutrements of dance.

I fancy the pair with rhinestones.
Sweet black satin over a 2.5 inch heel.

Shoes.  Something most women can relate to, especially when pairing those shoes with a man dressed in a black shirt, tapered at the waist, and black pants.  A man who is bending his woman backward in a graceful arch, which ends with:

My shoes falling deliciously

The book is about relationship and while there are times I question the jump of the mixed metaphor/images, Klocek-Lim has given us the opportunity to look at relationship through the push and pull of commitment to a medium that can allow the spirit to fly.

Rene Schwiesow is co-host of the popular South Shore poetry venue, The Art of Words.  In addition to writing poetry and fiction, she currently writes a monthly column on the arts for The Old Colony Memorial in Plymouth, MA.


  1. I hope readers who are interested in this book will also take a look at my book BALLROOM published in 2011 by March Street press--9$! good luck Lyn Lifshin

  2. I hope those interested in your book will also take a look at my book, BALLROOM published in 2011 by March Street Press-- nhine dollars

    good luck
    Lyn Lifshin