Friday, August 12, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥: Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered by Georgia Ann Banks-Martin

Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered
Georgia Ann Banks-Martin

Release Date: November 1st, 2010
Publisher: Plain View
Page Count: 66
Source:  NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™  for review, as part of the Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered virtual book tour

Georgia Banks-Martin walks us through an art gallery. We view art, which she has processed and questioned, through her lens: Lawrence, Monet, Van Gogh, Beardon, Sargent, Degas, to name a few of the artists. She challenges the reader to face slavery, grief and joy, to feel the weight the South bears, to examine art across centuries for lessons. These poems revive what has been omitted in our history books-individual life stories. She uses sound, music and voice to make imagery pulse in these ekphrastic poems. In her poem "Railroad Station," after a Jacob Lawrence: "Those leaving the towns where father and mother/labored in fields without being offered a yard of thread spun/from the cotton they pulled, have assembled./Packed: Hopes of work, three bedroom homes/water heated in water tanks, classrooms." As memories populate her poems, so does the theme of hope permeate her book; in "Death Dancing" after a Max Slevogt: "I wish memories could be buried as easily as bodies." . . . a book to remember as you stand face to face with art.
What Stephanie Thinks: Art fanatics will delight in Banks-Martin's collection of poetry based off inspiring, memorable masterpieces. Though I am not familiar with many of the paintings she references in her verses, her vague, nostalgic prose flows to make me imagine them. The poems don't all fit together in any way, which sort of confused me at first. Though well-written with strong, vivid imagery, the inconsistency of the poems, and the fact that I couldn't gather the subject of her writing, had me weary by the first few pages.

I normally love poetry, and had looked forward to understanding the "lessons learned and remembered" in this book, but unfortunately, that was difficult for me. I wish they had been connected more thoroughly, rather than including random tidbits of Banks's life.

For anyone with a background in art—those timeless treasures we keep cherished through years of evolution—Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered will no doubt, be a refreshing and consuming read.

Stephanie Loves: "Soon star-like buds will appear / on the fence born of a vine that during / the first week of fall had continued climbing / hoping the sun wouldn't turn its back, / the wind would only stroke still green leaves, / allowing them a few more hours, / before rain, twisting, tearing, / tumbling through unpaved alleys— / the shedding of seeds." —from "Remembering an Autumn Day".

Radical Rating: 6 hearts: Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back. ♥♥♥♥♥♥