Poetry book of the month: How to Fly by Barbara Kingsolver – review | The Guardian

The novelist teaches lessons in miniature in this deft and entertaining collectionWhenever a novelist takes flight into poetry, one has, however unreasonably, misgivings – based on a received, under-examined idea of poetry as an exclusive vocation. And with a novelist of Kingsolver’s stature, the last thing one wants is to see her as an impostor. I had imagined myself putting How to Fly quietly aside, but instead – only a few poems in – found it to be irresistible, the purest pleasure to read. In an age where almost no one writes letters, this collection is a stand-in for a personal, entertaining and generous correspondence. Is this a way of saying Kingsolver is not a poet? Absolutely not. As a novelist, she is a smart craftswoman, at ease with the grand scale, and here proves herself a committed miniaturist, innovative with the shape of poems, at home with a villanelle and with a particular flair for last lines that concisely turn the tables.Kingsolver’s wisdom and wit are always proportionate – she never misses the bigger picture Continue reading…

The novelist teaches lessons in miniature in this deft and entertaining collection

Whenever a novelist takes flight into poetry, one has, however unreasonably, misgivings – based on a received, under-examined idea of poetry as an exclusive vocation. And with a novelist of Kingsolver’s stature, the last thing one wants is to see her as an impostor. I had imagined myself putting How to Fly quietly aside, but instead – only a few poems in – found it to be irresistible, the purest pleasure to read. In an age where almost no one writes letters, this collection is a stand-in for a personal, entertaining and generous correspondence. Is this a way of saying Kingsolver is not a poet? Absolutely not. As a novelist, she is a smart craftswoman, at ease with the grand scale, and here proves herself a committed miniaturist, innovative with the shape of poems, at home with a villanelle and with a particular flair for last lines that concisely turn the tables.

Kingsolver’s wisdom and wit are always proportionate – she never misses the bigger picture

Continue reading…


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