#AusReadingMonth2020 Bella Li
- Title: Argosy
- Author: Bella Li
- Genre: prose poems, collages, images
- Published: 2017
- Bingo card: VIC
- #AusReadingMonth2020 @bronasbooks
- #AWW2020 @AustralianWomenWriters
- Trivia: The book models itself from Max Ernst’s collage novels
- — Une semaine de bonté: A Surrealistic Novel in Collage
- — La femme 100 têtes
- Trivia: Winner Victorian Premier’s Literary Award 2018
- Trivia: Winner Kenneth Slessor Prize 2018 (New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award)
- I had high hopes for this book
- …but after reading it I am convinced
- I have a lot to learn about poetry.
- The book contains 14 small chapters:
- 7 chapters = collage images; 7 chapters = text.
- Ms Li used historical illustrations made by French explorers.
- and added some of her own imaginative visuals including
- …position seashells, butterflies, and animals atop
- 18th and 19th C explorer sketches from La Pèrouse.
- Ms Li places her prose poem sequences
- in between the image sections
- …that play with quiet and fantastical visual scenes
- Text: prose poetry , ‘vers libre’ imitating the style Rimbaud uses.
- It is ESSENTIAL TO KNOW... the back round information Li uses as
- as basis for part 1 of the book: “La Pérouse, une semane de disparitions”
- Chapters Les Rêves (7 stanzas) and Les Incendies (7 stanzas).
- On March 10, 1788, the French explorer
- Jean-François de Galaup de La Pérouse departed (wikipedia info)
- the penal colony of Sydney, having spent six weeks stocking up on supplies.
- Now it was time to resume his exploration of the Pacific.
- He sailed north out of the harbour, bound for
- New Caledonia and the Solomons, due to return home the following year.
- He was never seen again.
Ms Li’s objective: Part 1
- Use prose poetry to compose a vision of the explorer’s demise.
- Voice to La Pérouse’s thoughts and observations.
- Describe what he felt/seen shipwrecked on Vanikoro, an atoll of the Solomon Islands
- I read part 1 with NO knowledge of Ms Li’s narrative objective.
- My note in the book: “I can’t make heads of tails of this!”
- After I did discover what I was missing
- ...the poems made more sense.
- So I hope this helps you if you want to read Argosy.
Ms Li’s objective: Part 2 (title: The Hundred Headless Woman)
- …female character sketches:
- Isodora: A Western: (ref – dancer Isadora Duncan and ref – Cormac McCarthy
- io sono l’amore: (ref: film maker Luca Guadagnino)
- The Novelist Elena Ferrante (ref: to Ischia, place used in EF’s novels)
- The Memory Machine Elena Obieta (ref: SF writer Ricardo Piglia and his fictional character Elena Obieta)
- The poem 아가씨 (ref: film The Handmaiden, 2016)…little story of Tamako
- Without some back round information
- …I was lost while reading part 2.
- Ms Li DID PROVIDE NOTES on page 168…
- I should have read them BEFORE reading the book!!
- I was lost during the first reading of this book
- ….but it was my own fault!
- After re-reading the entire book
- I now realize why Ms Bella Li
- has been awarded many literary awards
- .…she pushes the boundaries of poetry!
- This book requires a deep engagement with the text
- …in order to make meaning from it.
- #GoodRead for poetry buffs….
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