Read What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo by Pascale Petit Free Online
Book Title: What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo|
Date of issue: July 26th 2011
ISBN 13: 9780982876657
The author of the book: Pascale Petit
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 14.12 MB
Edition: Black Lawrence Press
Read full description of the books What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo:From Pain to Paint to Poetry: Pascale Petit
I looked forward to Pascale Petit's launch of her new collection 'What the Water Gave Me' so much that I thought I may be disappointed, but in fact it was even more stunning than expected. There was standing room only in the unusual venue - a basement in the converted Horse Hospital near Russell Square.
Audience members were shoulder-to-shoulder, leaning close to hear each other in an excited buzz of conversation before and after the performance, but when Pascale read the silence was filled with the thrill her poems inspire. Each of the poems in this collection is inspired by a piece of art by Frida Kahlo, and Pascale describes this artist as having turned pain into paint.
Pascale has taken this one step further and turned pain into paint and then into poetry. The poems are in the voice of Kahlo, and some give voice to the paintings, while some are 'parallels' as Pascale called them. It's not a simple task writing a poem based on a painting as most poets have discovered at one time or another. And yet somehow Pascale has found a muse in Frida Kahlo and writes poems that come from one work of art to create another.
Kahlo's paintings have a visceral effect on those who are most taken by her work, and Pascale's poetry also inspires this response in a reader or listener. I've heard some people tell me they 'just don't get it', but if you do respond to Pascale's poetry it's electrifying. When I discovered Pascale's poetry through her collection 'The Zoo Father' I knew I had found a poet who could create a passionate response in me, as Roddy Lumsden has recently described the effect some writing can have on us.
The amazing thing about 'The Zoo Father' was that every poem had that effect. Sometimes a moment here or there in a poem can 'give us that whoosh' as Andrew Motion puts it. If a couple of poems in a collection can do that then I'm pleased to have read it. But with 'The Zoo Father' this happens in poem after poem. That kind of consistency isn't often achieved, and shows poetry that's on another level.
I did wonder if 'The Zoo Father' was so exceptional that it wouldn't be repeated, but 'What the Water Gave Me' proves that the consistency isn't just from poem to poem, but also from collection to collection. It was a special treat for the audience in The Horse Hospital to hear Pascale read some of these poems, accompanied with a visual display of the Kahlo paintings.
I do wonder sometimes if I should tone down my admiration for Pascale's work, but, having thought about it, I decided to write this blog to say how wonderful it is now to have women poets who can inspire us with this standard of writing. When I was starting out as an aspiring writer in my teens it was very different. There seemed to be so few women poets in anthologies, nobody as a role model because Plath had writing of a high quality but wasn't somebody I wanted to emulate. Plath was the only recent woman writer I saw in books, and even she wasn't alive by the time I was reading anthologies.
There were plenty of women poets in Victorian times and into the early part of the Twentieth Century, so it's not true when some people say there were 'few women poets pre 1960s or 70s'. For some reason we seem to have stifled them just at the time I was looking for women writers as inspiration, and I won't go into the reasons for it in this blog.
Perhaps Pascale Petit is the most inspirational for me, and perhaps for others it's one of the other excellent women poets we have at the moment, which isn't to say men can't or don't enjoy their work! But I don't think men might understand what it was like for some of us as teenagers to be writing poetry and sensing an absence of women in poetry.
Frida Kahlo has given inspiration to Pascale Petit, and in her turn Pascale passes that inspiration on to many more of us. We're so lucky now to have such an active circuit of poetry readings and open mics, which also wasn't the case when I was starting out. Pascale teaches poetry workshops in the Tate, and other well-known poets also give workshops. So we can meet these figures in a way that wasn't possible when I was younger, and I really recommend taking advantage of the opportunity.
Read information about the authorPascale Petit’s seventh collection Mama Amazonica, published by Bloodaxe in 2017, is a Poetry Book Society Choice. Her sixth collection, Fauverie, was her fourth to be shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. A portfolio of poems from the book won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize. She trained at the Royal College of Art and spent the first part of her life as a visual artist before deciding to concentrate on poetry. Three of her books were Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement, the Independent and the Observer. In 2004 the Poetry Book Society selected Petit as one of the Next Generation Poets. She is widely travelled, including in Mexico and the Venezuelan and Peruvian Amazon.
"Pascale Petit’s Fauverie is astonishing, one of those books that breaks new ground in how to approach writing about the unwritable." – Ruth Padel, London Review Bookshop Books of the Year
"Pascale's poems are as fresh as paint, and make you look all over again at Frida and her brilliant and tragic life." Jackie Kay Books of the Year, Observer
“a hard-hitting, palette-knife evocation of the effect that bus crash had on Kahlo's life and work, exploring the way trauma hurts an artist into creation” – Ruth Padel, The Guardian
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