Monday, May 6, 2013

Review of "Bon Courage" and "Hoffnung" by Amy Gerstler

Bon Courage and Hoffnung by Amy Gerstler appeared in the March 2013 issue of Poetry Magazine.

Bon Courage is in some ways reminiscent of "The Taking Tree" by Emily C. Skafton which appeared in Daily Science Fiction on May 6, 2013 and was reviewed in Songs of Eretz May 5, 2013 (no time machine was involved--the review was posted just after midnight when it was technically May 6 but the server posted it as May 5).  There is a girl in the poem, "but the forest is our subject."  The poem reads like a faerie tale, as three personified felled trees try to come to terms with their fallen status, and the girl is "relieved these trees are not talking about her."

The title "Hoffnung" appears to be a reference to Gerard Hoffnung (1925 - 1959) (pictured), who, according to Wikipedia, "was an artist and musician best known for his humorous works.  Raised in Germany, Hoffnung was brought to London as a boy, to escape the Nazis."  However, except for a passing reference to "the war," there does not seem to be much about him in the poem.  The poem is full of vivid but disjointed images that do not mesh, and its message--if there is one--is unclear.

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