4 out of 4 stars
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The Flowers Celandine is a collection of poetry written by Brad Ramsey. It is written in the form of a pastiche which follows the style of poets in the English Canon, while also giving a postmodern and contemporary view from the author. The book is written in the first person with an overall narration of a relationship with a prostitute. Ramsey’s work consists of nine poems based on the poetry written by various poets of the Romantic period. With similar rhyme, meter, and rich imagery, The Flowers Celandine will be enjoyed by 18th Century poetry lovers everywhere.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was short enough that I could spend time rereading each poem, while not being too short and giving me too little to read. I will admit that a lot of it went over my head, but after a few times of reading it again, I started to truly appreciate the poems. The rhyme schemes were very well done, with rhyming being so subtle that it was only noticeable after further inspection. The imagery and metaphors followed the traditional style of comparing loved women to flowers and nature, which paid homage to the romantic poets. I also found the references to the prostitute to be cleverly expressed without harsh explanations of sexual interaction.
When I got to the end of the book, I was surprised to find a list of poems along with the poets that wrote them. There were nine in total within the list, and I realized that each of these poems corresponded with the poems that Ramsey wrote himself. Following in the order of the list, Ramsey’s poems were a pastiche as they appeared in the book. As someone who is not overly knowledgeable about 18th Century poetry, I was given the ability to find these poems online and compare them to Ramsey’s work. This led me to appreciate Ramsey’s poetry even more, as well as admire the work of the English Canon poets featured in The Flowers Celandine. Personally, I would have liked for this list to have been at the beginning of the book so that I could have read the original poems before the pastiche. However, I still enjoyed them nonetheless.
If you want to expand your vocabulary, then this book will definitely help you with that. I found myself often referring to a dictionary for words I came across that I did not know. There are also many references to different flowers that I was unfamiliar with, especially when the scientific name of the flower was used. For example, I learned that an Eigeron is a daisy, which is used within the book.
The editing of this book seemed very professional and almost flawless. There were no remarkable errors or typos that I could identify. However, the only thing about this book that I disliked was the formatting. Even though the editing itself was fantastic, the spacing of the poems on the pages could have used some work. On some pages, the poem is formatted perfectly, but on others, there is only a single stanza on a page with blank space left underneath it and the poem continuing on the following page. Despite this very minor error, I am rating this book a 4 out of 4 stars. It was an exceptionally written book.
I would only recommend this book to people who love reading poetry. If you are not a lover of English, then you will probably find this book to be quite boring, and you may not understand or appreciate a lot of its aspects. However, if you adore the writing of romantic poets such as Wordsworth or T.S. Eliot, then you will love Ramsey’s re-creation with a modern twist. There is also an aspect of religion and Christianity, especially towards the end, which non-Christian people may not relate to. Overall, this book is meant for a select group of people who will agree that Ramsey’s work is outstanding.
The Flowers Celandine
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