Friday, December 12, 2008

Poets, monkeys, Kuwait and more...

Randa Jarrar isn't a poet, she is a fiction writer. But she's also someone I personally know and like who has written a novel that features a poet as one of its main characters and makes many references to monkeys (usually people calling other people monkeys, but still).

I should clarify and explain that the poet character in A Map of Home is actually an ex-poet. He's also the father of Nidali (the main character). Here's an excerpt from page 109 of A Map of Home:
"Poor Baba. He used to be a good poet. Now he was a dad and a husband, and he couldn't write anymore. He had an idea in his head, but that, unfortunately, was all he had. Through the years he'd build on it, adding layers and characters, descriptions of places he'd seen, hundreds of twisting anecdotes and witty lines, and store it all in his head. But because he wanted it to come out of his head perfectly, fully formed, like Athena out of Zeus (like, on some days, he believed I had come out of him), he could never let it go."
This passage is a great one to include in notes of encouragement to all of the poets in your life.

The book has been out since September and I've owned it since then, but was not able to read it (or much of anything aside from freshman composition essays) until now. Once I started it, however, I did not put it down until I was finished. In other words, I didn't get much laundry done, didn't do any planning for class and barely changed out of my pajamas today. And for this, I blame Randa.

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