Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes
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Format: Paperback, 64pp.
Publisher: Space & Time
Pub. Date: July 2001
AALBC.com review by Jacqueline Jones LaMon
I firmly believe that there are no coincidences in this life, that we are presented with that which is for us with divine timing. I was introduced to this volume of illustrated poetry after the World Trade Center reality, after weeks of walking around thinking about the contents of Ash in our lives.
Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes, the latest offering from poet and writer, Linda D. Addison, is an intriguing poetic fusion of fantasy and whatever is beyond the fantastic. This collection of thirty-one narrative poems gives us glimpses of a world as it is, and proceeds seamlessly, slipping and oozing through the crevices of what we will and won’t accept as reality, into a world as it could be. This is talent: to be able to make transition into other worldliness and not show thick lines of demarcation. You are here and then, without realizing the distance of the journey, you are there.
Her poems are spare and allow much room for the reader to enter and interpret. I appreciate a poem that allows me entrance this way, giving the reader intellectual credit to color within the lines.
Do not make the mistake of labeling this as hollow storytelling at its most fanciful: Ms. Addison tackles problems of our everyday living, and shows creative womanist perspective in her approaches to resolution. She enters the world of the battered, the lonely, the betrayed and shows us paths to strength and new solutions. This collection reads like a string of pearls, with images that recur in poem after poem, reminding us of theme in the most subtle manner. The message penetrates and lingers long after the final poem has been consumed.
I wish there had been more: more poems, perhaps even more subdivisions of poems. I was left wanting more at the conclusion, left feeling as though this was not truly the end of it all. And I was so ready to read more.
The poetry is accompanied by the illustrations of Marge Simon. While I found the simplicity of the black and white line drawings to be a beautiful enhancement, I found the more detailed illustrations to be a distraction from the poetry.
The genre of speculative poetry is intrinsically multilayered. Poetry is, by definition, a discovery of depths through associative images. To then add the possibilities that a new reality contributes easily could have made for a difficult read. However, Ms. Addison strips away the excess and leaves her readers with vivid images that linger and remain long after the volume is closed. You remember. Long after the book is closed, you remember all of the sharp, shiny things and where to go from there.