Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book review: Duet for Wings and Earth by Barbara Colebrook Peace - Nesdoly

Title: Duet for Wings and Earth
Publisher: Sono Nis Press, September 2008, paperback, 64 pages
ISBN-10: 155039164X
ISBN-13: 978-1550391640

Duet for Wings and Earth is no ordinary collection of carol-derived rhymes or Christmas acrostics. In fact these modern Advent, Christmas and Epiphany poems by Barbara Colebrook Peace may permanently alter the lens through which you view the incarnation.

Begun in 2001 as a contribution to an annual concert, the collection of 21 poems explores Christmas from the viewpoints of God, the sheep, the moon, the Magi and more. Using poetic styles from free verse to pantoum and glosa, Peace gives us much to ponder.

In the first of three seven-poem sections, she sets incarnation’s stage. She imagines God’s song from before creation in mind-bending, cosmological thoughts of a time before time. Through Joseph’s and Mary’s songs we experience Jesus’ rich Jewish heritage.

Section two deals with events just prior to Jesus’ birth. “Song of Bethlehem” explains how Bethlehem is much more than “a circle / on a map.” “Song of the Inn,” a pantoum with repeating lines, echoes the innkeeper’s glib apologies.

Section three muses over the meaning of Christ’s birth. The poignant “Song of God: For Judas not yet born“ is followed by the final “Song of Mary: Light falls in parables” with lines that are a perfect sum-up of the book’s impact:

“… the song
I’ve been singing all my life
is a song about stretching

to enlarge my idea of you, and even
my idea of me…”

That’s what these mythical yet real, simple yet complex, accessible yet deep poems do. They retell the familiar story in a way that charms and woos us into a richer experience of the incarnation and its meaning.

Peace’s first book, Kyrie, was published in 2001. In June 2009, Duet for Wings and Earth won (tied with D. S. Martin’s Poiema) The Word Guild Canadian Christian Writing Award 2009 for Book - Special category.

Duet for Wings and Earth would make a fabulous gift for the lover of poetry on your Christmas list. Or purchase a copy as a resource for the person who plans the Christmas services at your church. Of course you'll also want one of your own.

Order through Amazon or Sono Nis press.

(This review was first published in the November/December issue of Faith Today.)


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Peter Black said...

Thanks, Violet.
You've opened a window on an area of writing and poetry I'd known nothing about. Sounds intriguing.
One's education continues ...

violet said...

Thanks Peter! It is a beautiful book.

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