Evensong

Evensong

by Ingrid Wendt

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Overview

This fine gathering of poems shows Ingrid Wendt's genius for bringing her readers into a world that becomes theirs. Finely crafted lyric narratives and meditations offer a host of small epiphanies arising from everyday life: turning points in relationships, insights into our troubled world, and coming to terms with loss. Wendt is a master of metaphor who turns the mundane into poems that heal. A classical musician by training, she makes poems sing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935503934
Publisher: Truman State University Press
Publication date: 10/28/2011
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

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Evensong 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
editor poetry.us.com More than 1 year ago
Evensong is Ingrid Wendt's fifth full length book of poetry. For those not familiar with the title, Evensong means a service of evening prayer, especially in the Anglican Church. So it is not surprising to find many references to music throughout the book: Bach's B Minor Mass, "Valse Triste" (Sad Waltz) by Chopin, words spoken in concert by Pete Seeger, a poem titled "Requiem for a Soprano", and there are many more. Wendt studied to be a concert pianist as an undergraduate, but no longer plays in public; however, she has performed in different choirs over the years, and presently sings in a local choir, The Motet Singers, in her home town of Eugene, Oregon. What might surprise the reader is that Evensong is a compilation of poems from the last forty years. These are poems that did not fit thematically into her other books, but have certainly formed a cohesive whole in this volume. It also needs to be "noted" that Evengsong might not be in our hands to enjoy if the poet had not survived surgery to remove a life threatening brain tumor two years ago, and gone through months of physical therapy to regain her health. Many of these poems are about family, but they do not get lost in the great morass of domestic poems, because Wendt focuses her lens giving us image after image with a high resolution and clarity. A central theme in Evensong is the relationship between mothers and daughters. Wendt writes about her mother and covers this complex relationship in enough poems to give us a well rounded view. As a child, Wendt remembers her mother as a strict parent to fear. As a grown woman, Wendt views her mother in old age and all her frailties. Wendt also delves briefly into her relationship to her own daughter. Evensong is also about relationships outside the family: an older couple with their "layers of grief beneath all that love," a new friend's suicide, a good friend's weak heart. How strangers can come together and sing Bach's B Minor Mass making something whole, yet still not know each other's names. Wendt seems to be saying maybe it's love that gets us through or inherent goodness. "Benediction" the second to the last poem in the book is remarkable and memorable. It is an emotionally charged poem of a daughter washing her mother's body for burial, but is told in a detached, yet loving way. This poem won first runner-up in the 2003 Rita Dove Poetry Award, and was later published in Prairie Schooner. Wendt knows how to make her poems sing, and sometimes, the speaker literally sings in the poem. Evensong is the work of a master poet, and could only have been written by one who has gained wisdom and maturity over the years. Such compassion while facing such deep personal loss is rare.
Oregonpoet More than 1 year ago
Evensong is Ingrid Wendt’s fifth full length book of poetry. For those not familiar with the title, Evensong means a service of evening prayer, especially in the Anglican Church. So it is not surprising to find many references to music throughout the book: Bach’s B Minor Mass, “Valse Triste” (Sad Waltz) by Chopin, words spoken in a concert by Pete Seeger, a poem titled “Requiem for a Soprano”, and there are many more. Wendt studied to be a concert pianist as an undergraduate, but no longer plays in public; however, she has performed in different choirs over the years, and presently sings in a local choir, The Motet Singers, in her home town of Eugene, Oregon. What might surprise the reader is that Evensong is a compilation of poems from the last forty years. These are poems that did not fit thematically into her other books, but have certainly formed a cohesive whole in this volume. It also needs to be “noted” that Evensong might not be in our hands to enjoy if the poet had not survived surgery to remove a life threatening brain tumor two years ago, and gone through months of physical therapy to regain her health. Many of these poems are about family, but they do not get lost in the great morass of domestic poems, because Wendt focuses her lens giving us image after image with a high resolution and clarity. A central theme in Evensong is the relationship between mothers and daughters. Wendt writes about her mother and covers this complex relationship in enough poems to give us a well rounded view. As a child, Wendt remembers her mother as a strict parent to fear. As a grown woman, Wendt views her mother in old age and all her frailties. In the final lines of “Mother’s Day, Ellensberg, Washington”, Wendt sums up the special day with, Such simple things really: these moments of pleasure I keep on learning are yes, each day in our power to give each other, to help to keep this inescapable human circle in repair, keeping each of us as the lucky among us once were kept in the eyes of our own mothers, visible. Whole. Evensong is also about relationships outside the family: an older couple with their, “layers of grief beneath all that love,” a new friend’s suicide, a good friend’s weak heart. How strangers can come together and sing Bach’s B Minor Mass making something whole, yet still not know each other’s names. “Maybe it’s love that gets us through,” Wendt seems to say, “or inherent goodness.” “Benediction,” the second to the last poem in the book is remarkable and memorable. It is an emotionally charged poem of a daughter washing her mother’s body for burial, but is told in a detached, yet loving way. This poem won first runner-up in the 2003 Rita Dove Poetry Award, and was later published by Prairie Schooner. Wendt knows how to make her poems sing, and sometimes, the speaker literally sings in the poem. I saw again your chin, unguarded; saw your knuckles worn, arthritic, sang a tune that came from who knows where: This is the hand that fed me, Hand that held me, Hand that punished me, Hand that led me. For hours, sunlight was the only thing that moved. And soon would be gone. And your hand in mine still warm! I stood to kiss your forehead. It was cold. But I had been in the presence of holiness. World without end. And was done. Evensong is the work of a master poet, and could only have been written By one who has gained wisdom and maturity over the years. Such compassion while facing such deep personal loss is rare.