Part of the Quarternote Chapbook Series from Sarabande BooksContents of a Minute gives us a look into the poetry of Josephine Jacobsen, celebrated poet. This 29-page collection is filled with recently discovered and previously unpublished poetry and is a great collection whether you’re just discovering Jacobsen’s work or you’re already a fan.

Jacobsen’s poetry is filled with depth and rhythm. If you’re new to poetry, I would suggest someone like Jacobsen for her ability to pull the reader into a scene without being confusing. This is not to say her poetry is simple–it is anything but. In fact, the subject matter often has dark undertones, speaking of death or longing. But it is not so heavy as to drag the reader down and leave them wallowing. There is something redeeming about the beautifully swaying beat and the unusual rhyming schemes in many of the works, such as in the poem Natural, one of the recently discovered. It is almost sung, and even if you’re not the poetry-spouting type, you may just find yourself trying to commit a fragment or two to memory for later.

Whether you’re a poetry buff or not, I encourage you to check out Jacobsen’s work. She won many awards in her lifetime, including the Robert Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry, the highest award a poet can hope for. If you’d like a copy for yourself, I have an extra one just for giving away.  Enter to win by midnight on Friday, June 20, 2008.

3 Ways to Win

1.) Leave a comment telling me something about your poetry reading habits. Do you ever read poetry, or is it something you’re hoping to try? (Something more than “I want this book” is kindly suggested.) If the randomly chosen winner doesn’t reply to my email telling them they’ve won, I often choose the #2 winner based on their comment.

2.) or Subscribers are automatically entered into this and all future giveaways. Just enter your email address in the little white box on the upper part of the right hand column. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail.)

3.) or Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back.

If you do all three, you have three entries to win.

10. June 2008 · Comments Off on Walking on Air by Muriel Spark – Book Review · Categories: Book Reviews, Chapbooks, Poetry, Short Stories · Tags: , , , ,


Muriel Spark’s work can be found in every corner of the literary world: Novels, short stories, poetry, reviews, and many other written forms, best known for her novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Walking on Air, Cahier 2 of The Cahier Series published by Sylph Editions, was brought into being shortly after Spark’s death. These collected works of both poetry and prose were organized by Dan Gunn, some of them being published for the first time. Gunn’s process of pulling the pieces together for a cahier is what he hopes is its own sort of translation, and I must agree.

Walking on Air
features a few images of the author’s handwritten pages, complete with scribblings and rewrites, which was of particular interest to me. Most of my reviews and other writings are first handwritten (as is this one) with many such scratched out and reworded phrases. To see the written notes of someone of Spark’s caliber is certainly fascinating to any writerly mind.

The reader will also enjoy a few journal entries in which Spark discusses ideas for short stories and tidbits about her daily writing life. These entries are followed by a wonderful short story called The Ormolu Clock, which was discussed in the preceding journal entries.

Walking on Air wraps up with a few more pieces by Spark, including a short work on artist Piero della Francesca. Overall, this collection gives a unique look into the life of a great writer, leaving the reader with a sense of having had a personal encounter with Muriel Spark herself.