An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
The Bunny and the Crocodile Press
Washington DC
ISBN 0938572 43 1

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This page last updated: 10th December 2007.

ORPHEUS IN THE PARK comes dangerously close to being the best collection I have read over the past two years! Everything about this collection strikes a chord with me, from the understated impressionistic cover to the concentration of mythological retellings.

The Hellenic myths have to be the most repetitiously retold stories of history. Almost every major story has its roots in them. What Rose Solari has managed to do is to retell the stories in their original classical style, but giving more detail, more emotion than has previously allowed, as aptly described in verse 4. WHY HE TOOK HER SANDAL of THE CREEK, THE WOODS: HERMES AND APHRODITE:

		Because the sheer luscious vanity
	of the object made him want it for its own sake.

	Because it smelled like her. Because he wanted
	something but didn't know what it was.
	Because he knew she wanted to give in,
	but after all this time would need
	a new good reason.
These extracts from stanzas 1 and 2 are earthy and materialistic. They are sensual and person. Exhibitionistic and private. The sandal described is Aphrodite herself, the not knowing what it was he wanted, aligning Hermes with fallible humanity. It is a classic image of lust and the fear that accompanies uncontrollable passion.

Weaving in and out of these mythological poems are ones relating predominantly to womanhood. In them emotional ache is exposed for all to share. Take ABORTION ELEGY: WHAT I KNOW ABOUT HER:

	There are times I can see her face as if
	she were here, as if she had lived - hair darker
	than yours or mine, your cheeks, my mouth.
	She stands over my bed as she did almost
	a full year before we knew of her, or runs
	through the living room, both hands spread,
	chasing a shadow.
That is what the poet feels, a shadow of grief, a shadow of what could have been, a sorrowful spirit hidden in a shadow, shunned by the word but ever lurking just out of sight. That final line, is so sad, so full of meaning that the previous image of unadulterated joy is shattered in the mother's grief.

This is a brilliant collection. I know I will continue to dip in and out of it as it brings back memories of hot summers lost in a world of Mount Olympus, of the battle between the gods and the mortals, and reminds me of the challenges and weaknesses of humanity itself.

reviewer: Fionna Doney Simmonds.