Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: Before the Blooming

Before the Blooming is a collection of seven years of poetry that truly show the experience of being alive through eight unique sections, Love, Lust, Life, Nature, Religion, Fantasy, Darkness & Death, and Etc. Before the Blooming discusses all aspects of living through the use of poetry. The good times, and the bad. Because in the end, everything, is an experience.”


The Piano Girl
I know a girl
Whose fingers dance among the ivories
She stays there all day
All night
Into the morrow she plays,
A personal songbird
Her proper soul plays as if she’s carefree
All her notes are lighthearted
But this girl is cursed
Her heart dances when she plays
So she plays,
And plays
Always playing…
Doomed to never stop
For once the music ends,
And the dancing ceases,
Its’ back to painful reality
Her true love is gone
Her keys will remain sear
As long as she plays,
Mind consumed by notes and melodies,
It has no room for his name
She plays until her fingers bleed
All her keys are red
Still she’s playing
Keeping memories at bay with her song
She prays inside
He will follow home her melodies
The notes are all for him
Before the Blooming, pg. 51-52

Before the Blooming is a collection of poetry representing seven years of a young woman's life. Poems are ordered by topic, and cover a wide range of subjects: life and death, love and loss, serious and whimsical. The spirit of the volume is transformative, demonstrating growth at the endurance of life's painful lessons, and also hopeful.

I'll confess, I don't know a great deal about poetry. I'm driven to write other things, and usually with a great deal more wordiness than a mere poem could hope to contain. That said, I enjoyed browsing through Bree Felling's compendium a great deal. There is a lot to like, including a lovely cover showing a tender blossom in the dirty hands of a gardener.

As a mother, this nurturing image corresponds to how I often feel about my own children—as caretaker and protector. (Of course, at other times I am a zookeeper and the warden of an insane asylum.) It varies with the day of the week and the moon cycle...

Bree fully manages to capture the trials and tribulations of feminine youth. She pours her heart into her poetry and takes the reader along on an empathetic journey. She portrays the people in her life with passion, and my mind's eyes painted a portrait of the individuals she wrote about. In particular, "The Piano Girl" resonated with me, leaving me with a vivid mental image and a profound sense of melancholy.

My orderly tendencies wanted to regroup the poems chronologically instead of categorically in order to make the journey linear, but I can understand why the poet chose as she did to go with broad categories instead of a well-ordered progression. Emotions, like life, are seldom neat.

I would have liked to see a bit more done with the formatting—poems run onto more than one page, leaving a lot of white space that could have been used more efficiently. Also, I wanted more pictures, because for me, poetry and pictures go hand in hand. The volume does contain the occasional small image but it would have benefited from the inclusion of photographs or drawings.

Before the Blooming is a wonderful reading choice for anyone who enjoys poetry and wishes to reconnect with a young woman's journey to adulthood.

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  1. Hi Miss Snark, I think I read on another blog/post that she started this in her teens. Do you think it is suited for a 14 year old?

  2. Hi Charlotte,

    She did start it in her teens. I do not recall anything in it that would be inappropriate for a teenage girl. Hope this helps. :)