Quick summary: Doll God is a poetry collection by Luanne Castle that touches upon such themes as childhood innocence, the passage of time, and the loss that accompanies growing older. Some of the poems read like a memoir, while others are more abstract in their imagery.
Why I wanted to read it: I try to read at least a couple of poetry collections a year, and what better way to bring more poetry into my life than by taking part in the first blog tour of my friend Serena‘s new business venture, Poetic Book Tours.
What I liked: I read the entire collection aloud, and I loved the way the poems sounded, even when I didn’t quite understand them. I liked the mixture of narrative poems and those that require the reader to ponder the meaning. The imagery is fantastic, especially in “YouTube Interview of the Life-Sized Toddler Doll.” I could see the mother’s childhood doll positioned on the guest room rocking chair and her creepy, Annabelle-like qualities in these lines:
I belong to her but I own
her children. When she’s downstairs
I pop my lids just for them. (page 24)
What I disliked: There were more poems that were difficult to understand than there were poems that grabbed me upon first reading. But even in the more difficult poems, there were lines, images, and themes that I thought were interesting. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to read the collection more than once, so I’m sure I’m not doing it justice.
Glimpses of my favorite poems:
Her granny sewed us matching
dresses–my kneeless legs
stiff under the crisp pink sateen,
her legs marred by red scabs
at her knees, her pink cotton
diminished with washes. I held her
beauty, a flawless twin.
(from “YouTube Interview of the Life-Sized Toddler Doll,” page 24)
The boy on my boat, who may or may not
be the boy of the light, visited the Louvre
twice. The first time to find what people seek
in her. A year later, he wandered from her cluster
of admirers, bored with what he could not understand:
Lisa’s face held in a moment between the day-to-day
and the something more. She is not even pretty or
slender. The kind of girl who might jump in the back
of someone’s pickup and head out to the river.
(from “Fishing,” page 33)
Final thoughts: Doll God is an intriguing poetry collection that uses dolls as a symbol of childhood and evokes a sense of sadness about what is lost as we age, with poems about miscarriage, divorce, and cancer. The poems deserve careful reading and reflection and to be read aloud.
To learn more about Doll God and follow the tour, visit Poetic Book Tours.
Disclosure: I received Doll God from the author for review.
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