Tonight, for the first time in months, I treated myself to a night out, so of course I went with a friend to a much loved event; a poetry reading. This post decidedly will be a short review of Aurélia Lassaque’s reading at Palas Print dated 10/12/12.
Armed with a measure of good red wine and a delicious, not to mention sticky mince pie; sat in a tiny room where the Welsh, French, Spanish, English and whoever else sat shoulder to shoulder, waiting expectantly for the performance to begin. I had no expectations of this poet, being out of the loop for some time, evident in my blog, I took my seat in the front row. The lovely Aurélia and her translator took their seats facing us. I could not even see a twinge of apprehension, something rare when reading to such a seasoned group of critics, and that was only the Welsh.
I was astounded and full of admiration at Lassaque’s first collection ‘The call of Janus’, tracking the progression of images over St John’s Day. Each image has its own page, and each page resonates with a different sense. ‘Sweet aromas of cut grass’ and ‘horses tramp hooves in a war dance’, are just two phrases from the opening, forbearing the naturalist and disturbing that Lassaque invokes more and more throughout this collection.
With each passage, Lassaque read more and more passionately, while maintaining her authorial distance, something I find admirable when faced with such emotive language such as ‘ blood quickens beneath the skin’ and many others I have little time to mention.
Overall this collection, talking not exclusively of Bella’s time spent in this unusual place, is truly breath taking and well worth a read. It is truly awe inspiring to think these poems were written over two weeks.
Quickly moving on to the rest of her book; there was a truly controversial, perhaps dark side to many of these poems. Lassaque ventured to read some in Catalan and Italian, other than Occitan, demonstrating prowess in major as well as minor languages. Fantasy, for its prude inspiring mention of defrocking monks, and invoking Mediterranean imagery with Greece an ‘an olive tree’, were truly captivating.
‘The king of golden silk’, was possibly the darkest of these poems, retaining its distance from the scene only made it stronger as this king was in fact a scarecrow. The poet mentions his guts are ‘scattered on the ground’. However, before judging any of her work pejoratively, it is essential to mention that no matter how dark the tones are; her poetry exemplifies beauty in a way I have seen very few poets do. It is my opinion that Aurélia Lassaque’s long career will keep on crashing forwards, with many more books to come; myself, I look forward to her next release in March next year.