Thursday, April 24, 2008

Voice of Ice (Voix de Glace)


Title: Voice of Ice/ Voix de Glace
Author: Alta Ifland
Publisher: Les Figues Press
Pages: 117
Yearly Count: 21

The Voice of Ice is part of Les Figues Press' ThrenchArt: The Parapet Series. It is a book of prose poetry written and translated by Alta Ifland, traveling through her life drawing out feelings that we all have experienced at one time. The first poem is Birth, Death is the last and her journey is all that is found in-between. The poems take you to a dream state, a place where life drifts away and you are not sure where reality and dreams begin and end. There is also a very nightmarish texture to her writing, it captivates and yet you feel like you are running and you can't get home. Much of her poetry is on the deeper, darker side, however this encourages her style of intense symbolism and allows the reader to follow her travels. To be honest, I did not understand all of it, but really that is not the point of a lot of poetry. The reason you read poetry is to be captured by phrasing , the imagery and beauty of it all. Ifland has done much more than just grab a set of poems, she really takes you with her through her life and allows you to feel the pain right along with her, she also takes you into the joys of her life, the passions, the intensity.

Voice of Ice is a very quick read, I devoured it in one evening and wanted more of it. Each poem was originally written in French (Alta lived in France, and has worked as a French teacher), so on one page is each poem in French and opposite the French is her English translation of them all as well. Because I love languages I enjoyed glancing at the French too, even though I don't know French...but Spanish is sometimes close (sometimes).

If you enjoy modern poetry, poetry composed by life and driven by experiences...Voice of Ice would be exactly what you would enjoy. If you are interested in this author, go to Alta Ifland's
website,you will find some of her prose poems there, her bio and other information about her.

Here is an excerpt of one of my favourite of Ifland's Poems,


My Neighbors

From dawn to dark, day after day, we drag and enormous rock tied to our feet, and emptiness eats at our bellies. I look at my neighbors. She, her face stretched by the many plastic surgeries, her skin translucent because of the serum, her mouth stuck in the permanent grin of an aborted smile, her whole head stiff as if desperately trying to stop her features from collapsing into the face's vacancy. He, from one antidepressant to another. He knows them all by heart, their side effects and proper dosages. The children, also medicated. Attention deficit disorder. A glass of wine in my hand, I watch them at night, across the fence, satisfied that I am not the unhappiest being on the earth. The more they are unhappy, the less I feel alone. But are they unhappy? Can they feel their unhappiness, from one screen to another and in-between phone calls, busy as they are not feeling anything?

I open a second bottle of wine. Alone with my unhappiness. It, at least, is mine. But they, do they have anything of their own? Have the been abandoned even by their unhappiness?


- Voice of Ice, Alta Ifland (p. 39).

1 comment:

Trish said...

Sounds beautiful. I was actually just saying this somewhere else, but I have a number of poetry collections on my shelves, but I rarely ever read it! I think maybe because I usually don't get as caught up in poetry as I do a book, but I need to remedy that! And--like you said you didn't understand all of it--that really frustrates me! :)