Goddess Land: The First Ten Years.
ISBN: 1413798861, $19.95, 195 pp.
I had the pleasure of meeting Athena Angelic the author of Goddess Land which is a very interesting and strangely compelling collection of personal poetry written as she came of age over the last decade. She strikes me as being more like Sylvia Plath than Emily Dickinson and the fact that she is a feisty Red Head who is going somewhere shows in her work.
I am not going to comment on the poems themselves individually past saying that they all contain a high degree of vitality honesty and energy. Since I do a lot of my reading for review in public places like cafes here in Eau Claire Wisconsin I find folks who know I am the Midwest Book Reviews literary editor like to read over my shoulder and ask me questions about what I am reviewing this month. So as a little experiment I would open Goddess Land to a Random page ask and who ever happened to be reading over my shoulder to read a few poems and tell me what they thought of them. I did that because I feel that one of my functions, as a reviewer is not so much to say what I think, but help and author to find their public, and the reader to expand their interests. At best I hope this will lead to their discovery of a new author two.
I also do this because I am a literary critic who subscribes to reader response theory. In a nutshell it argues that the author, the text and the reader work together to construct meaning within that text. What I found, in the case of this text was that was everybody I talked liked something from this coming of age collection of poems . What Goddess Land really does is function as a sort of chronicle of the transformation of a teenager to an adult woman. Goddess Land appealed to a wide range of readers, all the way from form the twenty one year old punk band leader, who thought it really rocked to the sixty year old disillusioned intellectual, who found several of the poems quite refreshing. I even showed it to some of local Eau Claire Wisconsin's local artists and poets, all of whom reacted favorably to the book. I asked myself why such a wide range of appeal for Goddess Land. Maybe it is because Athena gave honest voice to emotions that we all feel in a way that shows deep feeling with out being sentimental. It is funny how term pops from contemporary literature course I took during the Vietnam era at University of Wisconsin Madison from a guy named Edgar lacy. Basically sentimentality involves demanding from the reader and emotional level of response which the literary situation does not warrant.
Athena does not do that which to me means she has a very bright future as a poet and will not be limited to simply writing about the personal. Some of our local poets up here in Eau Claire Wisconsin are pretty good but they tend to be stuck in time and place. The best thing about Athena Angelic work is its great potential to reach a wide audience as her creative life continues to blossom and unfold. Further I think that the best thing she could do for her literary development is get out of town, perhaps into a MFA program in creative writing at a major university.
This books belongs in just about every public libraries and for a number of reasons would be interest to academics working in both English, Women's Studies and literary theory, and of course to the general reader. For me the bittersweet and honest pleasure of the text is what I like most about the collection also like what I would call a counter intentional honesty that emerged in some of the author's best poems in which she says the most by saying the least.
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|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2006|
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