NH Poetry: Tales of the Francois Vase

Sylva Boyadjian-Haddad recommends Julia Older’s Tales of The François Vase, published by Hobblebush Books in 2012.

"Tales of the François Vase is a multi-genre, multi-faceted and absolutely fascinating collection of poems that sing via different voices the story of an actual Greek vase that has survived two and a half millennia by changing hands, breaking, being made whole again, and then being found to be lost again, to end up, finally at rest, though prisoner behind glass in Florence’s Archeological Museum in Italy.

We needed a poet’s keen ear and sensibility to bring the truth behind the facts of this strange vase to life. Older does this with ease, great charm, and biting humor.  For example, one of the imagined owners of the vase laments thus:

   I believe my husband the Commander would sell
   his own mother to clinch a deal!
  That beautiful wine bowl
  was a wedding gift from my parents
  and now I bet it’s some Etruscan whore’s.

The collection ends with the following lines that stay with the reader:

 we who shatter into myriad pieces
  and have to reshape what we were, when
  already we  have lost the original bright cast
  puzzling ourselves together shard by shard
  so that, if we are lucky, we last
                          a life span.

In addition to the poems, Older uses her own illustrations as an integral part of the story.  The collection comes with a radio drama on a CD as well—an added surprise!"                                                   --Sylva Boyadjian-Haddad

Sylva Boyadjian-Haddad is a poet, writer, and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.  She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Entelechy International/A Journal of Contemporary Ideas. Her work has been published in several literary journals and an anthology. Her Chapbook Salt (published by Finishing Line Press in 2011) was the recipient of the third Honorable Mention for the New Women’s Voices Prize in 2010. She is a three times nominee for a Pushcart Prize. She resides in Concord, NH.

This post is part of our celebration of National Poetry Month 2013 for which I asked New Hampshire poets and booksellers to recommend books of poetry by Granite State poets. These titles are generally available from local booksellers and may be held in public libraries as well.

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