May Book Review by Suzy Davies – Twilight Carnivals by Lori Katherine


Twilight Carnivals, By Lori Katherine

I love the title of the collection; I am reminded of Baktin’s notion of the carnivalesque, in which all social norms are overturned and voices, which are seldom heard, are now heard, as if for the first time.

Twilight is a magical time, a time of transition between light and dark, when the darkness begins to shroud us like a cloak, and comfort us. At the same time some light will filter through. Twilight is a time of transformation. We shape-shift, play with our identities. These poems speak of social masks, of hiding and revealing. We feel safe in this liminal space.

The poet has created a kind of poem story about a relationship. Each poem is a story in itself, but, when the poems are seen as a whole, we experience the dynamic ebb and flow of emotions.

The journey takes us from the abandoned self, where everything is bleak, “nothing can be redeemed” at the “end” of the relationship, to a woman of autonomy who surrounds herself with “those who adore.” The journey is by no means linear as she works through devastation, isolation and loneliness, denial, longing, anger, grief, jealousy, pain, hurt, healing.

We see repetition of these bleak emotions and reversals of courage. We go through all the emotions common to the death of a relationship and mourning – the loss of someone we have loved.

Significantly, the poem, “Sunset” reminds us that Time itself is cyclical. When the sun comes down, there is soul work to be done. It is as if those who have touched our lives are somehow present, and with us in the spiritual realm, through the dark night of the soul. We repeat and work through those lessons we need to learn. The last poem “Rise Up” shows the woman in a process of becoming. But she cannot be reduced to being “part of nature.” She “collects her sorrows off the floor and throws them in the breeze.”

The book cover is striking and shows a woman/angel above a sunset. Jewelled epiphanies permeate the lines. It is as if the collection is created from fragments of stained glass. The poetry is epiphanic and modern beyond the patriarchal lines of antiquity:

“The poets have retreated,
Their pages empty
No longer tales of dark and light,
Who will we fall upon
When the parchment and quills dissipate.”

“Do you still hold to hope
For a saving hero
To purge you of your tears?”

Reading this collection is healing and cathartic. We can rise up so it is our visions we see, our voices we hear, our histories/herstories we make. We are the authors of our destinies. We are the heroes.

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