Official Review: My Groans Pour Out Like Water

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cristinaro
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Official Review: My Groans Pour Out Like Water

Post by cristinaro » 14 Sep 2018, 08:09

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "My Groans Pour Out Like Water" by Frances Bloom.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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My Groans Pour Out Like Water is a beautifully sad book of poetry born out of Frances Bloom’s personal grief at the loss of her spouse, best friend and childhood sweetheart, Jacob Dante Boraggina. The poems in this volume become such a wonderful tribute to love that readers will be mesmerized by the tumultuous intensity of the emotions and feelings ranging from pure erotical desires to utter despair. Mainly lamenting the loss of the beloved, the almost 100 poems also celebrate the genuine communion between two kindred spirits and even acquire an existentialist dimension when asking questions about the meaning of life and death. The free-verse style is the best choice Frances Bloom could have made to reflect the often maddening and suffocating overflow of her heart. Her book touches the soul and all those who loved and suffered will find themselves in her brutally honest lines.

Although this is Frances Bloom’s debut volume, soon her lyrical voice gets easily recognizable. There is no capitalization for titles or beginnings of lines as it would have only spoiled the natural flow of the text. The enjambment genuinely allows for her thoughts and feelings to run wildly from one poetic line to another. Symmetrically crafted into three sections, the book is written in a simple language, but does make use of a powerful symbolism and striking imagery. A piercing outcry for help, it is also strangely comforting and alleviates the pain by plunging into the very depth of the human heart and pleading for understanding and acceptance.

The first section of the book (34 poems) describes the alienating impact of loneliness, the irredeemable sense of loss and the paralyzing confusion following the disappearance of one’s soul mate. Visual images related to nature and specific places in West Texas Hill Country bring a regional touch to the poems. However, the localized references to “the big bend country”, “huntsville”, “crowder mountain”, “tennessee river”, “sipsey fork river”, rio grande” or “south tuscalloosa country” only add originality and uniqueness to the lyrical text. Besides, everything is projected into universalization by the power of pain transcending any strict geographical boundaries. The entire section is pervaded by what the writer herself calls “millennial blues.” My favorite two poems are “I lie here” and “september.” If the former uses obsessive repetition to highlight the perpetuation of grief (“I lie here/not wishing I were dead/not wishing I were alive/but wishing I had never existed/for then I would never know/the suffering/that settles under the sun.”), the latter speaks of the collapse of the world being preferable to the excruciating pain (“life has kept moving,/and the rivers of sorrow/that carve/through the/canyons in my bones/are invisible to all. even you.”).

Caught in a world of shadows and darkness, the grieving lyrical voice tries to make sense of the new reality, hence the biblical references and the rhetorical questions addressed to an silent divinity in poems like “with bated breath”, “my groans pour out like water” or “in ruins.” She feels lack of direction and no control of her body, longing for “companions of the woods”, but realizing she is “in the land of no weather.” From time to time, there are lines written in italics suddenly revealing an outburst of suffering that moved me to tears (“goddammit this hurts”, “I have lost my will to live”, “I am so alone”, “please”). Last but not least, the poet’s versatility is visible in the unexpected transition from nature metaphors and the allegories of fire and water to the description of an urban environment supported by a raw vocabulary that cuts through the skin and exposes the untreatable wounds.

Despite the fleeting glimpses of light, the second section (33 poems) still relies on the same sorrowful mourning. Isolation brings along self-loathe, diving into booze, pills or drugs and thoughts of suicide. With no hope for the future, the mourner is trapped in a state of in-betweenness (“freight train blues” or “waiting to die”) and reality becomes a blurr (“when I fall into daydreaming”). The Life is a Dream theme is recurrent in all sections reminding me of Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s play. I particularly enjoyed the erotic poem “death is not stronger than love” in which the perfect sensual union of bodies reaches a mystical dimension. The poem “ode to weltschmerz” embodies all the depressive undertones of the book and is reminiscent of the great Romantic poets like Lord Byron, Alfred de Musset, Lermontov or Heinrich Heine.

The last section (29 poems) is climactic in terms of resignation and withdrawal from the world. The rejection of the comforting role of nature (“nature went/from sacred/to something/I shrug at.”) is accompanied by a defying revolt against divinity (“the prayers/of the saints/do me/no good,/not sure/they ever did.”). The vivid imagery of rotting and disintegration like that in the poems “waste of space” or “rider on a white horse” gradually slips into an overwhelming weariness expressed by the one or two-word lines (and/I sure/ain’t/sure/why/I even/bother/getting up.”).

I am giving this book 4 out of 4 stars simply because I believe Frances Bloom did an incredible job of artistically transfiguring the traumatic tragedy in her life and sharing it with all those who passed through similar experiences. The interior rhythm of her poems, the simplicity of the language and the sincerity of the lyrical confession will definitely appeal to a wide range of people who are fond of reading poems that spring from the heart and sing of the blues.

******
My Groans Pour Out Like Water
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Post by kandscreeley » 18 Sep 2018, 08:35

Poetry just isn't my forte. However, I can only imagine what the loss of a spouse would do to a person. Having been married for 16 years myself, I know that sorrow would be overwhelming. Your significant other becomes such a part of your life. It sounds like she really makes you feel what she is going through. Very great collection. Very emotional. Thanks for introducing us to it.
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Post by Emi_Review » 18 Sep 2018, 09:55

Your review sounds poetic in itself! I was first drawn to this by the cover of the book, it's very simple yet stunning. I was hooked because of your high praise; the poems sound beautiful and emotional. I can only imagine how painful losing a spouse must be and I can tell by your review that the author was able to portray the strong emotions in her poems to an outstanding quality. Thank you for such a lovely review.

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Post by Debjani Ghosh » 18 Sep 2018, 10:22

Beautiful review! I could feel the author's lament pouring out from your prose. However, poems are not my forte. Thanks, anyways, for introducing readers to a beautiful collection of poems.

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Post by Noraine Alissa Poria » 18 Sep 2018, 13:39

Poetry has always been a good way to show or released some hidden emotion, such as sorrow. Reading your review and knowing the story behind the poetries is very heartbreaking. Grief has always been hard to recover from and hard to accept. I hope the author is already well and free from heartache.

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Post by cristinaro » 19 Sep 2018, 01:43

kandscreeley wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 08:35
Poetry just isn't my forte. However, I can only imagine what the loss of a spouse would do to a person. Having been married for 16 years myself, I know that sorrow would be overwhelming. Your significant other becomes such a part of your life. It sounds like she really makes you feel what she is going through. Very great collection. Very emotional. Thanks for introducing us to it.
Thanks for your nice words. The collection is genuinely emotional. As you said, only the thought of losing your loved one makes you shiver, but to actually live it is the very thing that everybody dreads. I admire the author for having the strength to allow her sorrow to turn into poetry.
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Post by cristinaro » 19 Sep 2018, 01:47

Emi_Review wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 09:55
Your review sounds poetic in itself! I was first drawn to this by the cover of the book, it's very simple yet stunning. I was hooked because of your high praise; the poems sound beautiful and emotional. I can only imagine how painful losing a spouse must be and I can tell by your review that the author was able to portray the strong emotions in her poems to an outstanding quality. Thank you for such a lovely review.
Thank you. Frances Bloom's poems have this quality to speak directly to the heart. I think she took me into her world of grief and I was able to resonate with the feelings which must have taken a lot of courage to put into words.
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Post by cristinaro » 19 Sep 2018, 01:55

Debjani Ghosh wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 10:22
Beautiful review! I could feel the author's lament pouring out from your prose. However, poems are not my forte. Thanks, anyways, for introducing readers to a beautiful collection of poems.
Thank you. I actually love reading poetry as truly beautiful poems are sincere outbursts of emotions triggered by intense reactions to love, loss, happiness, beauty, etc. In this case, Frances Bloom is not afraid to express her innermost feelings.
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Post by cristinaro » 19 Sep 2018, 01:56

Noraine Alissa Poria wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 13:39
Poetry has always been a good way to show or released some hidden emotion, such as sorrow. Reading your review and knowing the story behind the poetries is very heartbreaking. Grief has always been hard to recover from and hard to accept. I hope the author is already well and free from heartache.
I also hope this will not be her only collection of poetry. It would be interesting to hear her lyrical voice in happier circumstances.
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Post by gen_g » 23 Sep 2018, 05:19

This sounds like a great book of poetry - both lyrical and evocative. Thanks for the detailed review!

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Post by Eva Darrington » 23 Sep 2018, 10:35

I so enjoyed reading your review. You have captured the range of emotion expressed in this collection of meaningful poetry. Your analysis is seasoned and gave me a strong sense of the poems. I am always a little wary of reviewing poetry as it can be challenging. Your beautiful review did this book justice.
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Post by Samy Lax » 08 Oct 2018, 23:09

This seems to be one I'd enjoy. The way you mention “death is not stronger than love” and how you seem to have enjoyed it makes me want to read this book even more. Great review!
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Post by Fozia-Bajwa » 16 Oct 2018, 16:18

You have described the qualities and meditation of the books in a diverse range but summary is too little. I think it should be more than that.

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Post by Emjopin » 21 Oct 2018, 18:42

Good friend you touched my very soul again! Your review echoes Frances Blooms' Groans Pouring Like Water ...reverberates compulsively like ripples of water from the highest peak streaming endlessly ...

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