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Dreaming My Animal Selves / Le Songe De Mes Âmes Animales (2013)

by Helene Cardona(Favorite Author)
4.77 of 5 Votes: 5
Salmon Poetry
review 1: Hélène Cardona's "Dreaming My Animal Selves: Le Songe de Mes Ames Animales" invites us on an oneiric journey alongside mythical creatures, numinous animals and seductive flora. Its patterns —wavelike, labyrinthine or concentric— seem to act as portals allowing us to "step out of time" into a light-infused, watery landscape where ancestors and pieces of self are re-membered. Hélène Cardona weaves words like one casts a spell. Unforgettable.
review 2: The short poem, Dreams Like Water, which introduces Hélène Cardona’s compelling new poetry collection, Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry, 2013), sets out her main poetic theme in just seven, succinct lines. She will trace and reveal patterns "through beings disguised" (her imagined, imaginative "a
... morenimal selves") in a desire to unify the disparate parts of the psyche and give it safe, spiritual anchorage. Hers is a quest for healing and wholeness in a dreaming sleep.And one cannot help but be astonished at how many separate strands there are to Cardona’s own biographical self. Her mother was part Greek, part Irish; her father is Spanish (and a distinguished poet too). She has lived all over Europe and America, and is fluent in six languages (as she writes in her poem Dancing the Dream: "I am the wandering child.") She is or has been an equestrian, dancer, dream analyst, astrologer, yoga practitioner, translator, interpreter, pianist, scholar, assistant professor and actress. Many different selves, indeed.Cardona’s own life and background, therefore, are as protean as the shape-shifting nature of her poems, and her physical life and soul life weave themselves seamlessly together through the symbols and mythologies in her poetry.You can detect all kinds of influences here – Romanticism, Surrealism, Freudian and Jungian psychology, the mysticism of Rumi and Blake, Gnosticism, the Yeatsian Celtic Twilight – yet the poetic and soulful path she follows is uniquely her own. This is shamanic poetry, poetry as magic, poetry as a gateway to the unconscious and to the dream world, liminal poetry ("that state of in-betweenness / where even objects seem alive, / to do with light and looking pure"), poetry as alchemy, poetry as healing.In the early poems of the collection she recalls her childhood: her mother (". . . a shiver down my mother’s / spine was worth a thousand words") and her father ". . . the melancholy in my father’s eyes, / reflecting Lake Geneva, was indecipherable ") and her connection with books and fairy tales, which created for her "an elfin world".She tries to protect a firm identity (". . . I remain a thistle, resilient, / rooted in Mediterranean Celtic fringe"), yet at the same time she is ". . . insubstantial, chameleon, / excavated like a talisman from wreckage." This split (a dualism both individual and part of the universal human condition) resolves itself in her dreams, her soul voyages, her morphing "animal selves" ("I . . . discover that in dreaming / lies the healing of earth. In dreaming / we travel to a place where all is forgiven.") This is the place of the "Magician", of the "Divine", of the "Immortals"; a place where ". . . experience is cellular. / In our normal state we’re not able to perceive, / that’s why I think the dead know."Dreaming My Animal Selves is a collection of poems which deserves to be widely available and widely read. It’s certainly one I’ll read over and over, and will appeal to spiritual seekers and lovers of mysticism everywhere."The ultimate aim is reverence for the universe. / The ultimate aim is love for life. / The ultimate aim is harmony within oneself." From Isle of the Immortals by Hélène Cardona.Robert WilkinsonEditor of the poetry magazine, The Passionate Transitory less
Reviews (see all)
This is a beautiful book and Helene is a wonderfully talented writer. Be sure to read it!!!
An intriguing meditation on the porous boundary between animals and man; highly recommended!
Lovely, dreamlike poems that have the feel of A Midsummer's Night Dream all over them.
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