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Posted April 25, 2012
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Blueshifting by Heather Kamins
¿This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received Blueshifting as an e-book. One of the first books to read on my Nook. This book of poetry contained such beautiful word-pictures. Ms. Kamins writes of nature with a lovely rhythm. In "Eggcorns" (acorns) she uses words such as "bare witness" and "I'm scarred half to death" to make you stop and think about her meaning. "Devolution" was one of my favorites, talking about Nature reversing the evolution of "progress". I would definitely recommend this to readers who don't necessarily read poetry as well as the poetry lovers amongst us.
Posted March 19, 2012
I was pleased to receive a copy of Blueshifting by Heather Kamins “in exchange for an honest review.” I haven’t written very many reviews before, especially of poetry. I hope this is useful to someone…
According to the dictionary, blue shift is an astronomical term that describes an effect in which light from an object appears to be of a shorter wavelength (moving towards blue) when the object and observer are approaching each other, whereas red shift describes the lengthening of wavelengths of light from an object as a result of the object's motion away from us. The red shift in light from galaxies is considered evidence that the universe is expanding. What a great concept to play with!
Blueshifting is a chapbook of 16 short, non-rhyming poems and prose-poems. The collection begins with the poem Blueshifting, where “…nostalgia burns in you like an oncoming star…” and ends with Redshifting, “…the thing I recognize like a stranger whose face I know whose name I don’t…”
In this collection Ms. Kamins evokes the tension/interplay between the cosmic (in a scientific sense) and the intensely personal. It seems to me, at least on a superficial level, that she is trying to make sense of a loss, exploring the empty places between memory and the future in an attempt to create some meaning for herself or find a meaningful place in the big picture of the universe. Don’t think that this is fluffy, New Age stuff though; it’s not.
For me, at least, one of the signs of effective poetry is when you find yourself thinking about it later, making connections that you did not see upon your first reading. In this sense, I found Blueshifting to be a quite satisfactory collection. Another criterion by which I personally judge poetry is “flow.” I like poetry that immerses me in emotion, sensation and ideas without the words getting in the way, so to speak. I felt that there were a few places in the poems where I got tripped up by a clunky word choice, like tripping over an unseen root while immersed in a forest walk…
All in all, I would recommend Blueshifting. I enjoyed it, and appreciated the opportunity to read something that I normally would not have read.
Posted March 3, 2012
I must say I haven't read poetry since I was at high school, so this book was an eye opener. The book was beautifully written and filled with imagery, but I didn't understand much of what the poems were trying to tell me. I liked Insomnia and Devolution, the way they flowed. However most of the rest of the poems seemed a bit random in their patterns to me. A nice change of pace from what I usually read though.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 2, 2012
The book "Blueshifting" by Heather Kamins is a collection of poetry, composed of eighteen poems in a small volume. The poems generally lean heavily upon the use of color, as the title suggests, to create the imagery described in each poem. The primary poem, which shares the book's name, makes particularly extensive use of hues, perhaps reminding the reader of the early modernist Imagists who pioneered the incorporation of distinct color as a means of constructing their poetics.
Some of the pictorial language is a bit clumsy, as read in the above-named poem:
wheels toward the inevitable
like a lone astronaut accelerating
toward the azure bubble of home" (4).
However, we are rescued soon afterward in such lovely pieces as "Insomnia," where we read:
"... my mind, full of the day before
and the days ahead, those wild neurons
weaving the spider strings of memory" (7).
I will not give away the ending of this poem, which is quite brilliant. Some poems are painfully postmodern, such as "Prevailing Winds," which reminds us of the collateral damage of the nuclear age. Others place us strikingly admist dusty plains, such as the poem "Redshifting," which jars the reader by such juxtapositions as Venus at a truck stop.
Read individually, the poems may strike the reader as melancholic and rather dreary. Taken together, though, these poems create a narrative of the passing of time in different geographic and cultural contexts, each made distinct by their placement on the color spectrum. Overall, this collection provides an array of poems that, although each is quite short, altogether make a pleasant afternoon of reading, or make for lyrical relief from pangs of colorless winter days.