on Nov. 14, 2016 :
There are many different kinds of poetry—some in which the poet’s career seems uppermost, and others in which a stance from which to view the world is primary. GP Greenwood’s poems are the latter, a life-work. Her entry into the undercurrents and intricacies of human life is through story: goddesses as well as ordinary women with their relationships appear, and with cut-through lines that bring ancient tales into the contemporary world; that, for example, of a schoolgirl ‘chewing the end of a pencil.’
The poems invoke the sacred, but get to grips with how women live and feel now. When Greenwood steps outside the frame of story, there’s still a sense—brought about by her use of sensitive and sensuous language—of her trailing the numinous with her along with an overall connection to the springs of life. She can write terrific metaphors. I liked ‘glittering Braille of drunken love” where blindness touch and the imagined are linked so accurately. I liked, too, the sense I felt of the poet’s refusal to give up on the deeper meaning of every day, no matter the circumstances.
One of the poems, ‘Ecstasy’, particularly brings together Greenwood’s strengths as it accompanies a teenage daughter in the hospital, while “all the music she’ll ever hear/rages inside her now.”
Poets with a stance need to be read, and Greenwood should be read not only for her tales, but for an underlying toughness, a voice sexy and powerful in its essence.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
on Nov. 13, 2016 :
Small pearls of wisdom are sprinkled throughout Medusa's Blood by GP Greenwood. The collection of poems wanders from the ancients to modern day life interlocking the two with a poetic marveling of life and mystical thought.
The power of women, both the pain and pride is captured in several pieces. 'Branwen' written about a goddess tells the reality that face any woman in a bad situation.
Floral images merge with pictures of the female form in 'Blossoms' touching the beauty of life with the pain found within.
Greenwood has captured the magical wonder of life using myths of goddesses and simple objects for a collection of work that will have the reader sitting back pondering the meaning of each word.
Medusa's Blood is a good fit for your digital library shelf.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
on Oct. 27, 2016 :
Star counts are hard. The more unusual the work, the harder it is to rate. So as always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later. Let’s get to the point, Greenwood’s work.
Google absolutely everything of which you are not one hundred percent certain. There are mythic references. The early pieces cover various mythologies; they are quite enjoyable if you know the background.
Then there are the prose poems Laura, Margo and Sophie. These are experimental, and will surprise you into thinking and rereading them.
For a surprise adult poem, turn to Gabrielle’s Breath.
A strange favourite here is Rape Prevention, which uses mythological examples to explore the dilemma faced by women outfaced by power.
Social commentary is nicely presented in River Goddess, where we find mankind’s view of the river to be hypocritical. Spoiler alert: Here is the entire short poem: “White voice over stones or brown silence. Glacier-combed purity or weedy tangles. Warm, wide embrace or narrow glances. Collector of shopping carts and stolen bicycles, a toxic diva, a poisoned prostitute. /She must be tired of our two-faced love: our sweet personifications and casual abuse. Sometimes, she forgives us anyway.”
A favourite here is Bread for the Crows, where we find this: “To feed the earth, which loves /Black wings as much as white ones; /I feed my own need /To utter harsh cries.”
Greenwood is sometimes more literary than visceral, as in An Alphabet of Loss, where we have a series of images that create a mood; the reader will invent the world in which they occur.
I generally dislike writers writing about writers or writing, but a fine exception occurs here in The Prize, which ends thus: “I wear it to honour the lyrical excesses /which are sometimes all we have /to remind us we are made of fire and blood /as well as cool blue stone.”
For a fun and disturbing social commentary, turn to Most Wanted.
For personal tragedy, turn to Ecstasy, which includes this: “She's packed in ice like a choice spring salmon, /syringed with several kinds of sleep, /and finally, her spine-cracking solo /comes to a trembling close, /one hand plucking a blanket I bought /before I knew her name.”
For sheer entertainment that will surprise you at the end, turn to Making Strong Coffee. For a straightforward experience, turn to August.
You will notice there are no tiny carps in this review. Not so much as a typo. Back to the hard part, the star count.
My personal guidelines, when doing any review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent. This is fine work. Four stars feels about right to this curmudgeon, easily recommended.
(reviewed the day of purchase)