Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Review - Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems by Ursula K Le Guin

Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems
Ursula K. Le Guin
Trade Paperback
208 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0547858203
Advance Reader’s Copy – Uncorrected Proof


     In her eighty-third year Ursula K. Le Guin may very well be searching for her own elegy but her newest collection of poetry is by no means a swan song. If we define elegy as a funeral song or dirge then perhaps Ms. Le Guin has published Finding My Elegy as a memento for future generations. I think this extremely unlikely, however. In fact, if we define elegy as a composition of poetry (it’s sister meaning) then I believe Ms. Le Guin, as seasoned a writer as she is, simply continues her writing process by searching for her own unique, poetic voice. Only a true poet would carry on the quest for lyrical inspiration well into their eighth decade. The muse is a moving target and as every writer knows that voice, the essence, is always in  motion and must forever be pursued. It can never be accepted as is since it is evolving, ever-changing, and frail to the touch.

     There’s no question that Ursula K. Le Guin is one of our most gifted authors and while I have always appreciated and loved her body of fiction I know that it takes a certain amount of courage, even by an established legend, to write and publish poetry. Those singular glimpses into the personality and soul, however fleeting, is something most writers would rather not expose. I wish other celebrated Science Fiction writers would follow suit. What would the biggest names in the genre today have to say in the short poetic form I wonder? Mieville, Hill, Gaiman, Atwood, Scalzi, Walton, Stephenson, et al. consider that a challenge, if you will. What might we have learned if Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, or Pohl had written poetry from their distinctive perspectives? I for one want to thank you, Ms. Le Guin, for your thought-provoking work, your daring, and for giving us your little book of collected poetry and for providing us a much too-short glimpse into your heart of hearts.

4 ½ out of 5 stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

** Disclaimer – Advance Reader’s Copy – Uncorrected Proof received free from the Amazon Vine Program for review.

Additional Reading:

Ursula K. Le Guin Official Website

Ursula K. Le Guin Wiki Page

Finding My Elegy Amazon Page

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