Where were you when you first read Ariel? Who were you? What has changed in your life? In the lives of women? In My Ariel, Sina Queyras reimagines and engages directly with one of the iconic texts of the twentieth century, exploring and exploding the cultural norms and poetic forms and procedures that frame and contain the lives of women.Death perfects nada.The body wearsWhere were you when you first read Ariel? Who were you? What has changed in your life? In the lives of women? In My Ariel, Sina Queyras reimagines and engages directly with one of the iconic texts of the twentieth century, exploring and exploding the cultural norms and poetic forms and procedures that frame and contain the lives of women.Death perfects nada.The body wears no smile, nothingIs accomplished. Any Greek allusionIs Tragic; the foldsOf your skin deepen and freeze.Your marble feetAre not heavy with meaning,Your handsWill never hold, or soothe.Don't bother cutting out the heart,It was long broke. What betrayalsWere coiled like serpents In your ovaries? I despise a viper,The viper tries but the viperLies.Sina Queyras was born in Manitoba and grew up on the road in western Canada. She has since lived in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, and Calgary. Most recently, she is the author of the poetry collection MxT, which received the QWF Award for poetry, the Pat Lowther Award, and the ReLit award for poetry. She has taught creative writing at Rutgers, Haverford, and Concordia University in Montreal, where she currently lives....
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My Ariel Reviews
Sina Queyras is one of my favourite poets from my recent foray into the medium. Her work is brutally honest, brilliantly constructed, and both punishing and rewarding to read. My Ariel is a love letter, well, a something letter to Sylvia Plath. Queyras explores the poet's complex life, making comparisons to her own and drawing some insightful feminist conclusions. My favourite section, which was quite a surprise to me, contained her poems on motherhood. It was a painfully truthful, complicated exploration of her feelings towards being a parent, how being a partner shifted, and how she thought she was failing. Wonderful, expressive, impressive book!
I approached this collection tentatively at first, but found myself engrossed. I had never read Ariel, so took it upon myself to start from the source material, which is formidable to say the least.I was wary given the tragic events surrounding the publication of Ariel, that engaging with the source text and that of Ted and others, might in effect rob Plath of her sovereignty. I didn't want easy answers or justifications, causes in her life that drove her actions. Thankfully this concern was ill founded. That Plath was a woman willing to go all in and make beauty out of a painful situation, according to Queyras, was her legacy and her choice.Approaching both Ariel and My Ariel, as a father, I was interested in understanding the struggle between their roles as parent and poet. I learned a great deal about who Sylvia Plath was through this collection, but more so about Sina Queyras who is a formidable writer in her own right. These poems are highly personal, and I was impressed by the ways in which her own experience was woven together with the source material such that I had to ask myself at times where Sylvia ended and Sina began.As a husband and a father, I found many insights here to better understand the systemic sexism that still exists in this day and age. Not being one to engage in certain forms of toxic masculinity it is still important to recognize the insidious effects of an unchecked patriarchy. I believe, as someone who has a direct experience of domesticity, and has cared for those who struggle with mental illness, it is imperative to find ways to shoulder equally the weight of parenthood and never turn our backs on those who depend upon us.I don't know that a poem has the power to make me a better man, but here I have seen a way forward. It is only through my actions that such growth is possible.
My Ariel is a collection of poetry that both works against and pulls in the works of Sylvia Plath, as well as her personal life with her husband and children. Mostly, Plath's work and life parallels aspects of the Queyras's life, which makes for an interesting read. I have not read any version of Ariel, though before approaching this book I did know a bit about Plath from reading some other of her works. Combining Ariel and Plath's life with the poet's own experiences didn't take away from either, but added to make an intersection that is a satisfying read. *Book provided by NetGalley
I find it hard to believe no one found this book less than 3 stars. She has some talent I suppose but I find confessionals about sexual abuse too personal for me. I'm not minimizing their pain I just think personally it belongs in therapy not in writing. I don't care for this oversharing confessional genre. As for the Sylvia Plath homage/plagiarism I wasn't a fan. It's clear she needed Sylvia but Sylvia didn't need her.
Really interesting autobiographical work where Queyras reworks poems of Plath with varying amounts of loyalty to the original. She draws parallels between her life and Plath’s, engages with her biographers and critics and also writes from other's viewpoints. I'd like to go back to this for a closer reading and comparison with the original poems.
Sina Queyras is my favourite poet. I could read her words all day. I liked the more narrative tone that comes through in this collection. I just finished Ann-Marie McDonald's Adult Onset a few weeks ago and saw similar themes there but clearly Queyras' voice is distinct and all her own.
I need to parse it more. SO GOOD.
scathing and perfect in every way
I loved it. Longer review forthcoming....
Enjoyable but a highly personal poetic work that examines life from a postmodern, whimsical and physical perspective. Its not for everyone's taste but I do think there is some value here.