An Open Book, his first published collection, is selected from 35 years of poems. The title reflects his attitude that this book and all the poems in it remain works in progress.
It also reflects Card's commitment to clarity, especially in poetry. As he says in his afterword: "To be clear and yet also say something worth saying is what I believe poetry should strive for."
Alright, let me start off this review with an admission. I am a tremendous Orson Scott Card fan. But I am also a fan of Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost and William Shakespeare.
And it is in the tradtion of these three men that I find myself enjoying the poems of Orson Scott Card. What all four men have in common is daring to craft verse that could be appreciated by the masses, not just an educated elite. (Even Shakespeare, while clawing for the attentions of the court, always remember those of us in the cheap seats.)
The poems have strength, honesty and that element of the personal that makes them universal. Perhaps most interesting, they defy convention by conforming to it. That is to say, they are in sonnet form, rather than plunging into the more expected world of free verse.
Plus, the author does us the tremedous favors of reading them himself and providing insightful commentary about his inspiration.
Now if you download this audio program expecting to hear an Ode to the Bugger Queen, Bean's Ballad, Allvin's Anthem or some similar poetry focused on the characters in Card's fiction, you're looking in the wrong place. There are some science fiction based poems, but none so focused on Ender, Bean, Alvin or any of Card's major characters. The book's science fiction based poems are also in the extreme minority.
In closing, if you're a Card fan than this boook is a must - if for nothing else than the insights the author provides. If your a poetry fan than this book is a must to remind us that there is an alternative to the erudite world of academic poetry and the undisciplined world of slam poetry. And if you're lucky enough to be both a Card fan and a poetry fan, than congratulations. Christmas came early this year.
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