Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review: Rodeny Jones Village Prodigies


Blurb:
“A novel in language as dense and lush and beautiful as poetry . . . [or] a book of poetry with the vivid characters and the narrative force of a novel? Whatever you care to call it, it’s a remarkable achievement.” — Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Empire Falls

Village Prodigies imagines the town of Cold Springs, Alabama, from 1950 to 2015 and unfurls its narrative reach as six boys—prodigies and swains—grow up and leave the familiarity of home and the rural South.

Yet all prodigies, all memories, all stories inevitably loop back. Through a multiplicity of points of view and innovative forms, Rodney Jones plays with the contradictions in our experience of time, creating portals through which we travel between moments and characters, from the interior mind to the most exterior speech, from delusions to rational thought. We experience Alzheimer’s and its effect on family, listen to family lore and read family Facebook posts, relive war, and revive half-forgotten folktales and video games. In this deep examination of personal and communal memory, Jones blurs the lines between analog and digital, poetry and prose.


My Rating: 5 *****
This book of poems and prose was an excellent read! I enjoyed the narrative voice about the tender years of life of the characters and the rhyming scheme was beautiful. The imagery was unbelievable and left me at times in awe. The rhythm of the words were like that of any I have read in a long time in theme of narrative poetry.

About the Author:
Rodney Jones, born in Alabama and educated at the University of Alabama and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has published widely in leading magazines, in The Oxford Book of Contemporary American Poetry, and in eight editions of The Best American Poetry. His books include Imaginary Logic (2011); Salvation Blues: 100 Poems, 1985-2005, which won the Kingsley Tufts Prize and was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize; Elegy for the Southern Drawl (1999), a Pulitzer finalist; Things That Happen Once (1996), a Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist; and Transparent Gestures (1989), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Jean Stein Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A professor and distinguished scholar emeritus at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he teaches in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.