Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Jude Cowan – For the Messengers (Book Review)

I first met Jude Cowan back in the summer of 2010 at Ireland’s excellent
‘Poets Express’ festival which is hosted and ran by Kylyra from Dark World
International and memorised by her singer-songwriting with a uiklee
which seemed to go into a totally different universe to a lot of the rest
of the festival.

This book is totally different to that.

I remember on the way back listening to her début CD with my friend Tony
and now ex keyboardist, Jeff and all three of had a great time listening to 
the CD which did border on poetry in places, but had layers scattered 
throughout it, it made me think of a novel, but a kind of novel I had 
not read or explored before.

This book is totally different to that.

For the Messengers, her début collection began in early 2008 
when she began to write poems almost daily in response to 
the unpackaged daily news footage she was constantly archiving
 for the Thomson Reuters news agency.

The book itself covers a wide range of topics such as Benazior Bhutto’s 
assassination to the Mumbai terror attacks and from the first Olympic Games 
and the election of Barack Obama, she had a array of material to 
draw onto from literally all over the world.

The poems in this book are on the whole generally pretty brief and 
on the whole I think work better for it. The press release that I 
read for the book describes her as having a talent for locating 
the key details which cut to the human centre of a story, which 
I totally agree in pieces like ‘ Iraq: Sifting' where a full story is told 
in just 4 lines or 'Mexico: Warlock' where I particularly like the 
bits in italics 'Hillary Clinton will be the next US President
and 'Central America will almost disappear' which give 
the picture a different form of reality.

This is a book that is different for the amount of topics 
she attempts to cover in contrast to so many books that 
you read by some poets that have two or three ideas and 
constantly, constantly keep returning to them. Jude’s book 
is very different to that in also the way she keeps away on 
the whole from writing about her own life directly and writing 
lots of poems about England and her own life (which I guess 
is more common ground for any new writer).

Speaking personally, I loved this book because I try to keep 
in touch with the news when-ever possible, and I think the 
market for this book will be people who have an interest in 
world-wide history / news which may restrict it’s cross-over appeal.

However, it’s a book that is worth exploring. Just don’t expect 
to be able to read it in half hour, as like the news, there is a 
awful, awful lot to take in.

More information can be read at (including samples)

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