In Charnel Rose, Conrad Aiken takes the plunge into a deeply metaphysical and surrealistic world, capturing the essence of one aspect of quintessential humanity: how we create and pursue a deeply personal, intensely idealistic, physically and emotionally draining search for love, and how some of us turn away from real love when we do find it, preferring instead to re-invent and re-amplify our idealistic vision of passionate perfection. He does this through an amazing combination of highly imaginative imagery conveyed through strikingly simple and beautiful poetry, musically complex and intensely rhythmic without empty literary gesture or hollow convention.
The first part of the book is "Senlin," a study of the complex reality of a man who is part stonemason, part philospher, and possibly part ancient deity.The second part of the book is "Variations," short, intense poems that ring the changes on intimate relationships.The third and last part of the book is "Charnel Rose," from which the book takes its name; this explores the passions and self-delusions we all go through in the name of love. Enjoy!
(P)2011 Robert Bethune
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