Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Book Review for Poetry Month: Obit

Obit by Victoria Chang
Available in Chatt State Library OverDrive

Accolades: The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2020, Time Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020, NPR's Best Books of 2020, National Book Award in Poetry--Longlist, and the Frank Sanchez Book Award.

Book Review written by Dwight Hunter

A poetry book that makes one read poetry differently. High-strung with lines that emote grief and future ambition intertwined into one. At first glance, the contents of the book may seem a little weird even, but the depth of emotions and the hop and skipping between objects and content gives a free flow in an otherwise constrained environment. This is Obit by Victoria Chang.

Chang wrote this book in the refusal to write elegies after her mother died. When you lose someone, the world doesn't stop to let you mourn, Chang writes. The poet explores the lack of time to see the world through the gaping hole left behind and to see what the future is like without someone to share it with. Many of the poems do not have titles.

The one exception is in section two of the book, taking a line from a Sylvia Plath writing, "I am a Miner. The Light Turns Blue." Happiness and rain and death and grief pack this 12-paged high-paced poem making it the masterful poetic stroke in the book. The free-verse poem here is a hodgepodge, a run and stop read, that makes a reader hue to the sense of uphill, downhill of life journeys through the darkness and into happiness. I love this poetic line: "How the snow falls to its death, how snow is just dressed-up rain". A powerful link that we dress up for death but in the end we are what we are born with.

Obit is available in the library's OverDrive platform at https://chattanoogastate.overdrive.com/media/5378934

Celebrate National Poetry Month!

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