Review 2: The Honey Month – Amal El-Mohtar

Hello again.

So, as we wend our way towards the next season of Voices of Venus, I’m spending my time writing, gardening, and – of course – pouring over poetry, in print and in the flesh.

The launch of the Summer edition of the Bywords Quarterly Journal went off well, last Sunday, and was followed by Dusty Owl Presents featuring local poet and playwrite Joanne John — there were a heap of awesome poetry-chicks there, btw, and I’m looking forward to seeing at least some of them at our next show.

Additionally, the latest issue of free, online magazine Goblin Fruit just came out today, so I’ve been enjoying that all afternoon.  (Seriously.  Check out Elizabeth R. McClellan’s “The Sea Witch Talks Show Business” — it’s awesome, and the voice-recording, provided by S.J. Tucker, is gorgeous).

It’s actually with Goblin Fruit in mind that I chose our next book review.  See, Goblin Fruit is co-edited by one Amal El-Mohtar, VoV alumna and quite the delightful poet herself.

A year ago (literally – she was our July 2010 feature performer) a packed house collectively swooned over the poems that comprise The Honey Month.

This book is the written-down equivalent of a live-album.  Each piece takes its inspiration directly from a different vial of honey, each one of them a gift from an equally honey-minded friend.

The result is a slim volume of sensual, whimsical poetry that explores every aspect of honey and human connection.  A smell vaguely remenscent of “sweaty underthings” gives rise to a poem about awakening sexuality and deceptive appearances of innocence.  A taste like lychee conjures up mysterious strangers, desires, and fairy food.  A name brings forth a symbolic language and a promise of ownership.  Thistle Honey, with its complex, playful taste becomes a story about awkward fairy encounters on the moors.  French Chestnut Honey, with its colour like “sunshine in Ottawa”, calls up the tale of a girl who had forgotten how to kiss, and how she is reminded.

Of course, my favourite – me being me – is #27, Leatherwood Honey.  If you are of a kinky turn of mind, this poem alone will make the book worth buying.  If you aren’t, I’m sure there are other pieces in this volume that will speak to you.

– Cheers,

– A.

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