Good Heart

Good Heart

by Deborah Keenan
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


Good Heart tells the reader what it means to have a "good heart" with all fantasies left aside. Keenan shows the reality of what a "good heart" must do to survive in the vast landscape of society, friends, and family. Kennan says, "I admit an extraordinary number of human flaws and frailties into the text—-claim the ragged journey that only sometimes leads to…  See more details below

Overview


Good Heart tells the reader what it means to have a "good heart" with all fantasies left aside. Keenan shows the reality of what a "good heart" must do to survive in the vast landscape of society, friends, and family. Kennan says, "I admit an extraordinary number of human flaws and frailties into the text—-claim the ragged journey that only sometimes leads to wisdom, and too often to harsh judgement, sorrow, losses. Because I am an autobiographical, and lyric, and narrative poet, each of my books carries my personal history, and the strands of cultural and political history forward. The poems in Good Heart were written to honor some endings in my life--the end of two extremely important friendships, the end of my mom’s healthy years, the end of plundering my dad’s tragic choices. I wanted to reflect on, and honor and, sum up, some personal and cultural history."

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Keenan's poems keep me reading, I think, in part, because she asks questions, as if engaged in conversation with herself or another persona in the poem. This results in a sometimes quirky yet always engaging style. Even when writing about death and loss, her humor keeps me from taking everything so seriously. Or else, this questioning causes me to stop, to reconsider, to see things differently. Her words are precise and unpretentious. She's a master of form, making good use of repetition, internal rhyme, the inventive line and stanza break, and the prose poem. In "Skeleton," her first and longest poem, she invents several personas for these bones. Her humor is evident: "He's making noises but he's no / Magician. He makes pain / But it's not personal." This is the skeleton of loss; the loss of friendship, parents, and self-respect. Her images are striking, sometimes shocking, as in "The Painting of the Amaryllis," a lovely, sad piece about a daughter discovering her mother's drowned corpse while her living mother pulls her back. The mother is speaking: "Don't let her hold you, she said, though it was terrible / To deny her dead self in this way." Keenan's understanding of human emotions is profound. She can see the world as if through a child's eyes, often yearning, sometimes brutally honest. In "Emerald," a make-believe place becomes real again, the "blue bucket to eat from" and "a sturdy chair that lives in rain / and snow and never falters." I love every poem in this collection, even the more obscure ones that deserve several readings. Maybe Keenan speaks to me because she seems to live her poetry, and with her questions, come to greater clarity. "Butterfly Weed," about a plant she hadto learn to love, is a simple story yet a great leap in understanding: "And the orange blossoms touched / something in me, touched my hatred, / My easy ways with judgment, / And I let my love for the flower / Be a small victory against all / I've hated carelessly/ With great attention and pride." Would that we could all be taught by such a flower. KLIATT Codes: SA;Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Milkweed, 84p., Budin

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571314154
Publisher:
Milkweed Editions
Publication date:
02/10/2003
Pages:
84
Product dimensions:
6.05(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.29(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >