Happy National Poetry Day!

One of my favorite collections of poetry is Averno by Louise Gluck, and this is my favorite poem from that collection:

A Myth of Devotion

When Hades decided he loved this girl
he built for her a duplicate of earth,
everything the same, down to the meadow,
but with a bed added.

Everything the same, including sunlight,
because it would be hard on a young girl
to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness

Gradually, he thought, he’d introduce the night,
first as the shadows of fluttering leaves.
Then moon, then stars. Then no moon, no stars.
Let Persephone get used to it slowly.
In the end, he thought, she’d find it comforting.

A replica of earth
except there was love here.
Doesn’t everyone want love?

He waited many years,
building a world, watching
Persephone in the meadow.
Persephone, a smeller, a taster.
If you have one appetite, he thought,
you have them all.

Doesn’t everyone want to feel in the night
the beloved body, compass, polestar,
to hear the quiet breathing that says
I am alive, that means also
you are alive, because you hear me,
you are here with me. And when one turns,
the other turns—

That’s what he felt, the lord of darkness,
looking at the world he had
constructed for Persephone. It never crossed his mind
that there’d be no more smelling here,
certainly no more eating.

Guilt? Terror? The fear of love?
These things he couldn’t imagine;
no lover ever imagines them.

He dreams, he wonders what to call this place.
First he thinks: The New Hell. Then: The Garden.
In the end, he decides to name it
Persephone’s Girlhood.

A soft light rising above the level meadow,
behind the bed. He takes her in his arms.
He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you

but he thinks
this is a lie, so he says in the end
you’re dead, nothing can hurt you
which seems to him
a more promising beginning, more true.

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Link Love

Here are some of my favorite things I found around the internet this week:

  • Beauty and the Beast is out today! And it’s getting mixed reviews :/ But even so, I’m still excited to see my favorite Disney movie brought to life.
  • I’ve been meaning to check out Ryan Murphy’s Feud on FX (but wanted to watch Whatever Happened to Baby Jane first), and this review made me want to get on with it posthaste.
  • My favorite part of Game of Thrones is arguably the dragons. And they are ‘the size of 747s’ in season 7. As in, this fan art may become canon. Eeep!
  • I’ve written before about my affinity for StoryWonk, and I was really bummed when Lani left. But then I was super stoked when she started a new media company, Chipperish!
  • I love the Watch What Crappens podcast, and have also been loving Ronnie’s audio recaps of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills episodes. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll definitely be a fan of these too.
  • Finally, I’m incredibly late to this party, but I recently, finally watched Moonlight, and thought it was SO deserving of the hype and the awards and think you should watch it and hope you agree that it’s really something special. I’m still thinking about it, and reading as much as I can about it. I sat down to write a review and ended up with “it’s just a moving, beautiful film that made me feel lots of things and cry, both happy and sad tears.” This review does a much better job of explaining why than I could.

Happy perusing and happy weekend!

Link Love

This week has been horrible. Leonard Cohen is dead. Everything seems hopeless. And I’d very much like to be distracted right now, so that seems like a good reason to focus on other things and finally follow through on my intention to get back to writing here

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite things I found around the internet this week:

  • I was so sad to hear that Leonard Cohen passed away this week. I have turned to his music whenever I find myself in a quiet, contemplative mood, and his poetry has inspired me so much. Bob Dylan was spot on when he told Cohen that his “songs were like prayers.” You should listen to his final interview with The New Yorker.
  • When things aren’t going well, I turn to the written word. So I loved this piece from the Atlantic about deriving comfort from poetry.
  • I have been loving the My Favorite Murder podcast for months now, and this weeks episode, chock full of hometown murders, is already one of my favorites so far.
  • Finally, this letter from Leslie Knope about the election was exactly what I needed to read this week.
Source

Happy perusing and happy weekend! Well…we can try, anyway.

Book Review: Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus

Description from the publisher:

This is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without. 

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.

Despite the excellent reviews this book has been getting, I can’t exactly say I was excited to read it. I had a pretty good feeling the experience would feel akin to my heart being ripped from my body and cut into tiny pieces in front of me while I bawled helplessly and boy, I wasn’t wrong. This book literally made me weep so intensely I got a migraine and had to stay home from work for a day to recover.

Still, I’m not sorry I went through the beautiful ordeal of reading Lily and the Octopus. It’s a seriously lovely, charming, funny book. I didn’t want it to end (mostly because I knew what would happen when it did.)

Grab some tissues, (seriously, all of them) and read this book.

Hello, my name is Kelley and I am obsessed with The VVitch

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I enjoy horror more than most genres, but I’m fairly specific when it comes to the type of horror I enjoy. I’m not a fan of gore. I find jump scares to be effective in the moment, but am left feeling cold after the movie is over. I want horror to sit with me, to crawl under my skin and emerge when I find myself alone, or when I’m trying to go to sleep. I like being scared, as in really and truly frightened, not just freaked out.

I’m one of those people who will go on about how horror movies aren’t scary anymore. It’s all gore and grossness and blood and pushing the envelope in terms of how disgusting a murder can be portrayed. Or it’s lazy iterations and reiterations of scary dolls and serial killers. There are no surprises, only shock value. It’s gotten to the point where I wonder how such grotesqueness can be so…boring.

I will freely admit that I’m a total cliche – my favorite horror film is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. I went through a phase when I was around 11 or 12 where I kept the VHS that my mom recorded it on in the VCR in my room and every single day when I got home from school, I’d rewind it (from the day before) and watch it while I did my homework. Every. Single. Day. In hindsight, it was more than a little strange. Still, I loved it so much and never thought I’d find another movie that bewitched me as much.

Until I saw The VVitch.

With that context in mind, I’m not exaggerating even a little when I say that there is no higher compliment I can pay a film than that.

I decided I wanted to know as little as possible about The VVitch (and I’ve decided that you should too, so I’ll keep this spoiler-free) after viewing the trailer and feeling sufficiently creeped out. I read reviews that said things like “it feels like we are watching something we shouldn’t be seeing” or “I felt like I was watching something genuinely evil” and got goosebumps and was instantly sold. (Like a totally normal, well-adjusted human!) I expected to be very scared, and I was. But it was a kind of scared that I haven’t felt for a very long time.

My mother liked horror as well, and because I was so weirdly attached to The Shining, thought I might enjoy some of her favorite movies. She thought I was too young for The Exorcist, but showed me Rosemary’s Baby and Carrie and Halloween. And then she showed me the 1976 film, The Omen. I remember that one very vividly because it was the first time I felt like I was watching something evil.

My mother raised me to be Catholic, as her parents raised her to be. She went to Catholic school, church every day, confession once a week, the whole nine yards. I didn’t go to Catholic school, but to church and Sunday school every week and to confession regularly. We watched The Omen and my mom noticed about 3/4 of the way through that I was crying. Not sobbing crying, not making a sound really. Just silently weeping, with big ol’ tears rolling down my cheeks. She paused the movie and asked if I was alright and I turned to her and said “I just don’t understand why God would let all of these bad things happen to these people. Why doesn’t he stop it?”

My poor mother probably expected this question eventually regarding real life tragedies, like war or famine, but here I was, asking some of the biggest questions you can ask concerning faith about a movie she was pretty sure I would enjoy because I loved The Shining. She had no idea what to say. I remember her stammering something about faith and free will, and said that we should probably turn the movie off. I actually kind of wanted to, but said that it was okay and I wanted to see how it ended. She hesitated again, probably thinking of how that movie doesn’t exactly feature a classic ending of good guys persevering.

I thought about that viewing experience near the end of The VVitch. Only this time I wasn’t weeping; I was transfixed. I think anyone could enjoy this film, but I also think it’s a different experience for a religious audience, no matter deep your faith lies. Even if you only believed once upon a time. Several scenes throughout left me with the same feelings I read about, like I was watching something genuinely evil. I felt like I was intruding on a real family and the terrible things happening to them. One scene in particular nearly inspired me to cross myself.

But I found myself rooting for the ending as it happened, feeling at once like it was tragic and somehow happy and the only way the film could possibly have ended. When the question, “woulds’t thou like to live deliciously?” is asked, I actually, literally whispered “yes.” Out loud.

God, eleven year old Kelley would be appalled.

Did you see The VVItch? VVhat did you think?