This book was reviewed for University of Iowa Press via Netgalley
Blair’s Playful Song Called Beautiful is certainly one of the more unusual poetry collections I’ve read. This collection was the winner of the Iowa Poetry Contest. These poems are rich with unique symbolism. That sometimes backfires though, when symbolism is so unique to the poet that any thread of language commonality is lost, as can be the case here at times, leaving casual readers confused and adrift.
Blair has a certain knack for playing with language, making the sounds flow, thick and heavy as molasses that hardens to amber around the unsuspecting reader. Protests are silenced, the mind stilled and forced to contemplate the indifferent chaos of the world, and the miasma of violence and judgement that surrounds society. The only qualms I had with this collection were the pessimism laced like arsenic throughout, and an overwhelming focus on aspects of destruction.
‘Law of the Excluded Middle’ is one of the poems that stood out for me, for a few reasons. First, I had just been speaking of Percy and Mary Shelley right before I read this particular poem. Second, the eye references freaked me out! Another favourite turned out to be the poem that lent the collection its name. ‘Playful Song Called Beautiful’ is nothing more than poor (language)-English translations, stitched together in some semblence of greater meaning. The ending to this poem is perfect! Not only that, but the sign ‘tiny grass is dreaming’ conjures sweet, gentle notions lost in many of these poems.
??? Recommended for those who enjoy the vibrant life commentary only a poet can deliver. This collection will give you much to ponder over.