Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rattle Reviews 'Writing Poetry to Save Your Life'

Writing Poetry To Save Your Life: How To Find The Courage To Tell Your Stories was e-reviewed on Rattle by Claudia Lundahl.

Have you ever had a book fall into your life at exactly the right moment and wonder if it was somehow more than a coincidence that you fell upon it at a time when you needed it most? I have, a few times in fact, and Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s Writing Poetry to Save Your Life has been one of these incidences. I wanted to read Gillan’s book because, although I was unfamiliar with her poetry, I liked her author photo (as superficial as that may sound, it’s true) and when I did start to read her poetry, I enjoyed it immensely. It was different from any poetry I’d been reading at the time and what was immediately captivating was the way in which the poems struck me as deeply personal and intimate. This is a theme which Gillan writes about often in Writing Poetry to Save Your Life. She emphasizes the need to be personal in your writing and to bear your soul; to expose yourself even if it feels like being stripped naked. In the introduction to this book Gillan writes of it, “It is a way of jumpstarting your creativity; it is a way to get permission to tell your secrets, to write your stories. It is a book about process, rather than craft.” If this were Gillan’s goal in writing this work to get us to jumpstart our creativity and prompt us to tell our secrets, I would have to declare it, from my personal reading and interpretation of it, an enormous success.

This book, though not a poetry anthology, is in every way as enjoyable to read as her poetry. Gillan has a way with words and her prose in this book is a testament to the diversity of her skill....         continue reading