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Oracles: A Pilgrimage by Catherynne M.…

Oracles: A Pilgrimage (edition 2005)

by Catherynne M. Valente

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882201,619 (4.38)1
Title:Oracles: A Pilgrimage
Authors:Catherynne M. Valente
Info:Prime Books (2005), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Oracles: A Pilgrimage by Catherynne M. Valente



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Inspired by her stint as a real-life oracle, these poems are about modern day sibyls living their lives in ordinary and magical ways. Each poem is like Take-Your-Daughter-to-Work Day: we see that Mommy's work can be unromantic, real, fascinating, dirty, tiring, and magical. Replacing the Oracles of Delphi, Cumae, and Dodona with those from Los Angeles, Miami, Manhattan, and Anchorage (among others), we are treated to 19 distinct voices, each revealing the life of an oracle off-the-clock or trudging through her duties.

I adore Valente's writing style; I love her imagery, the way she builds words into such complex feelings and scenes. Each poem is such a self-contained universe. For what it's worth, this book has accompanied me on half a dozen doctor's visits: every piece sucked me in and kept me enthralled while I spent hours waiting, and I now keep it tucked in my backpack, like emergency reserves, for when I find myself in need of escape. ( )
1 vote unabridgedchick | Mar 31, 2009 |
In this collection of Catherynne M Valente’s poetry, she describes her experiences working as a tarot reader and how being an oracle made her think of other oracles in America, those ghosts she dedicates each poem to.

Catherynne M Valente is one of my favourite writers for her sheer mastery of prose. It’s extravagant, it’s lush, and it’s utterly sensual. She can spin metaphors like you’ve never heard them before, which makes me want to get into her head for a day and see how she thinks. It must be thrilling. I love her theme of oracles because there’s a sense of power mixed with tragedy and helplessness. When have you last seen a happy oracle?

Each of Valente’s poems situates an oracle in an American city, so that her collection is not only an exploration of these augur women, but also an exploration of America. From San Diego to New York, Valente’s oracles are mysterious on one level and familiar in another.

Not all of the poems are stunners. Sometimes, as musings on a single theme can be, they get repetitive. But as an overall work, Oracles: A Pilgrimage is beautiful and impressive. ( )
1 vote veevoxvoom | Jan 6, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809500450, Paperback)

The Oracles of the ancient world spoke for the gods, they spoke for the future: but they could not speak for themselves. Here, their voices bubble up from the depths, enraged and sardonic, sorrowing and wild, finding themselves on new ground -- scattered across the American continent, marking a path for the seeker to follow, from New England universities to Hawaiian volcanoes, from dilapidated factories to Chinatown kitchens, from the Old East to the New West...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:36 -0400)

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