#Poetry Winner Costa Award for Poetry 2020
- Author: Mary Jean Chan (1990)
- Title: Flèche ( 50 poems 88 pg)
- Genre: poems
- Published: 2019
- Trivia: 2019 winner Costa Book Award for Best collection Poetry
- Trivia: 2020 longlist for Dylan Thomas Prize
- List of Challenges 2020
- Monthly plan
- I have been OUT of the poetry reading mode for many months.
- I feel very lucky that I discovered
- Flèche by Ms Chan to bring me back to poetry.
- This book gave me 88 pages of reflection
- …without the extra 300 pages
- I would have had to read if I had chosen a novel!
- Here are 50 love poems
- …for her family, mother and partner.
- A poem should work for you
- …if not, you don’t need this poem.
- It’s not your fault. It’s not you at all. It’s fine.
- Scrap it, ignore it and turn the page.
- Poetry gets to the heart of things.
- There must be one poem that will stop your heart.
- Ms Chan’s poems are a compact form
- in which the drama of a life is staged.
- The mother-daughter tense relationship is central.
- The love poem that stopped MY heart was
Do you ever write about me?
Mother, what do you think?
You are always where I begin.
Always the child who wanted to be
a boy so you could be spared
by your mother-in-law.
Always the ear that hears you
translating my poems
with a bilingual dictionary.
Always the pen dreaming
it could redeem the years
you fled from, those
Always the mind’s eye tracing
your frantic footsteps
toward the grandfather
I would never meet.
Always the lips wishing
they could kiss those mouths
you would approve of.
- Cultural history
- This was very clever….Ms Chan uses terms found in the sport of fencing.
- It give the reader an indication what the poems will be about.
- Parry – defense – “push” aside a blade that is attacking
- Riposte – counter attack
- Corps-À-Corps – impasse – 2 fencers are engaged…neither can use her weapon
- Each section contains 16 poems.
- There are 2 introductory poems – her mother is the narrator
- Title: Flèche is an aggressive offensive
- fencing technique used with foil and épée.
- It also is homophone
- …when pronounced, seems similar to another word.
- In this case flesh found in the poem “Flèche”.
- Strong point: poems are short, one-page-ers
- …but don’t confuse length and density.
- Ms Chan conveys her ideas in a few words.
- “..I long for a landslide of the mind
…so I can bury the moment”
- So much nuance…in just a line.
- I’ve read and reviewed at least 20 poetry collections (see blog)
- …and this book gets my HIGHEST score!
- 50 poems….and I really liked 38
- …that’s 76%
- I haven’t read the other long listed books for
- the Dylan Thomas Award 2020…but this book
- …will be hard to beat!
- Chapeau au bas…..Ms. Chan