Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review, February 24, 2013: After the Fire

Madame L found this book of poems by J.A. Jance as she was wandering through her local library looking for something entirely different. 

J.A. Jance is mostly famous for her mystery novels starring Seattle detective J.P. Beaumont.

Madame L has not read any of these novels (yet), nor any of the other novels written by Ms. Jance. But she will read one soon. And this is why:

This book of poems with commentaries, "After the Fire," is one of the most intriguing set of poems Madame L has ever read. As all her Dear Readers know, Madame L is a big fan of poetry. (And as you/they also know, Madame L loves to juxtapose things like "a big fan of" and "poetry," just like, if she were an "aficionado of NASCAR," she would put it that way. Because Madame L is somewhere between just slightly and totally weird. Which is just fine with Madame L, thank you very much.)

So, but, here's the thing: If Madame L had read any of these poems on its own, she would have appreciated it very much. She didn't know there would be commentary when she checked the book out, and if she had known, she probably wouldn't have bothered. It's unusual for Madame L to appreciate commentary about poems, stories, and authors. (Remember how Madame L has commented on her disdain for interviews with authors and suggestions for reading group discussions and such? Exactly.)

But in this case the commentary works. Maybe it's because J.A. Jance writes the commentary herself, and she also writes prose, and she's not just some publishing company hack trying to sell more books to the lucrative book-club market (is there such a thing as a book-club market, and, if so, is it lucrative for publishers? Madame L doesn't know for sure, but speculates that this must be the case, else, why all those incredibly idiotic sets of questions at the back of books for book-club members to discuss? and is it proper and/or appropriate to have a parenthetical comment this long and rambling? and if not, raise your hand if you think Madame L cares).

Where was Madame L? Oh, yes. The commentaries for these poems are as beautiful and haunting as the poems themselves, which is saying something.

Rather than ramble on any longer, Madame L will just quote the final stanza of the final poem in this collection, "Benediction":

And as the storm clouds rolled away,
Their edges silver-lined,
I watched a rainbow bridge the sky
And knew God's grand design.
He changes weakness into strength,
Makes courage from despair.
Our stumbling feet turn into wings,
When we come to Him in prayer.

Yeah, it's not John Donne or whoev. And that's good.


2 comments:

Laura said...

There are so many things to love about this post! "Whoev," fresh on the tails of "Whatev." Most excellent.

And "big fan of poetry." I can just picture Madame L holding up a big foam finger, "Poetry!"

Also, I really like JA Jance's series about a woman sheriff whose jurisdiction includes Sierra Vista, AZ. If Madame L is like me, she spent some time in Sierra Vista and can easily imagine the scenes described.

Jeff Wynn said...

I published a USGS Professional Paper 1674 mapping the groundwater beneath the Arizona San Pedro basin including Sierra Vista - know it moderatel well. The nearby canyons of the Huachucas are even more interesting - full of hummingbirds and even the Magnificent Trogon.

But the song from the movie Dark Star, "Benson, Arizona" is what rings strongest with me... I was introduced to it by Louise's and Laura's cousin Maurice...

OK, so share the poetry book with the Illiterati in your home.
~~~~~