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Catalina by Laurie Soriano


by Laurie Soriano

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Indie Lit Award Poetry Winner Catalina by Laurie Soriano, which was selected unanimously as the winner and also is published by Lummox Press, is a cohesive collection that maintains more than one theme throughout and simultaneously. The narrator travels from east to west coasts and from innocence to corruption and recovery; the journey is bumpy and fraught with obstacles and stumbles. Soriano uses imagery that jolts readers to the heart of her themes; parts one and two focus on how the narrator grows up in an abusive home with an alcoholic parent, while the final two sections focus on parenthood and how the past can shape us, but should not rule our actions.

There are some satiric qualities to these poems as well, like in “Betty’s Dive,” where a young woman takes on a dare and pays the ultimate price, and those issuing the dare laugh at what they think is her mock “dead-man’s float” until realization slowly creeps over them. There is a great sense of irony in some of Soriano’s poems as well, such as the “no dogs” sign that is clearly the subject of many dogs’ walks in “Venice After Work.”

Read the full review: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2012/04/indie-lit-award-poetry-winner-catalina-by-la... ( )
  sagustocox | Apr 26, 2012 |
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Catalina begins on America's east coast, where the "dense woods are full of secrets/full of children with their heads ducked against the weather." The book's first poems (in the "Coast" section) explore a gradual coming to awareness on that right coast. The book's second section ("To Coast") takes the long journey west to the Pacific, "through the great rippling heartland, a bridge between Oceans," with an accompanying focus on the mysteries and conflicts that vie for our attention as we lose the momentum of youth and settle in to our real lives. The third set of poems ("Being Here") celebrates the present moment, the self as a bridge between generations, as a conduit of the life force. The poems of the fourth and final section ("Looking Out") study the view out beyond the continent one has crossed; to what is next, the possibility of flight into other worlds beyond the rituals of everyday. There, out in the "endless churning ocean" is the next body of land, an island that is "where to go next, where not to go." The book's poems calmly open the doors to reveal magic and tragedy and make the case for looking out while staying put. These are poems of the restless American spirit--"We ache for shuttling further, for the oblivion of the new"-- and the peace that comes with the recognition that there is nowhere better to go. In the words of Cris Williamson, Singer/Songwriter - Laurie Soriano moves in a fearless way into the silence, and that is a vulnerable thing, in and of itself. There, all exposed, she listens for what will come. In that place, things can come, and things can go. In order to get more, you have to accept loss, so it's risky business, this making of poetry. Yet, make it she does, diving down into the breathless deeps, climbing up on the high steel, risking everything in order to catch, then release, the gorgeous lines that fill up these pages. Made of individual moments, things close to her heart, her work speaks of the places where all life comes together. By holding up her reflective Self she catches these fleeting things, then turns the mirrored surface towards us, where, in the final measures, we see ourselves.… (more)

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