on September 4, 2012
Harry Potter fans will love this volume of poems, and, while I enjoy Harry Potter, and the cleverness of J.K. Rowling's writing, I am far from being a dyed-in-the-wool fan. I don't know all the names, spells, or characters. But I have been a HUGE Christine Lowther fan since the early 1990's, eagerly awaiting each of her successive volumes of poetry.
As I opened the absolutely perfect cover, I knew I would be embarking on an adventure, but had no idea just how much the poems within this volume would resonate with me. Fans will read them with perhaps greater appreciation of the Harry Potter details, but anyone can find much to enjoy, appreciate and empathize with in these poems. The human condition, pain, history, tears, all are there......as is the succor of nature, and the healing and restorative balm of Her beauty.
As we read, we come to understand that the poet, like Harry Potter, (and as have we all,) has risen from her early Circumstance with great courage, to make something of beauty and meaning of her life. Descriptions of the beauty of the West Coast of Vancouver Island are woven through the pages, as are memories and reflections on the poet's very Harry Potter-like childhood, and her emergence and blossoming into a life and art of her own.
The poem "Choices" states this so well:
"Choose to....take this ride.....aim for the sky......all your scars blazing defiance, blasting misery to its dungeon...hold on and let go.....I am hurt, but survive.....Watch me, the wounded walking, the mortally injured dancing, flying in your face."
I have watched this poet's journey, from her first volume of poems written about her mother's death,(New Power), and everything she has written since. I marvel at the journey she has made, and am inspired by her dedication to her art.
If one loves poetry, or if one wants to read more poetry and grow to love it, you can't go wrong reading Half-Blood Poems. There is so much in it to keep you engaged, admiring, and entertained.
on August 27, 2012
Christine Lowther's book of Half-Blood Poems is more than an homage to JK Rowlings' books, and the films based upon them. It is an exploration of relationships, a beautiful ode to forest, flora, fauna, imagination and magic, and an eager - but, at times, bleak - acknowledgement of her "searing similarit[y]" to Harry Potter himself. A true woman of words ("an evil idiom slithered / from my own tongue"), Christine's persona is revealed on every page. Her love of Place: "Barnacles spread out along the rockface / like honeycombs; / hail splinters the sunshine; / sparks from a wand." Her celebration of unexplained mystery and adventure: "wherever the magic is unbridled / she would go there first". Her experience of the danger and exhilaration of aging: "The older we grow, the more our souls hum, / a frenzied hidden aliveness." And her deep regard for the environment: "Broom...hippogriff or thestral, we're carbon-free." and "I emerge in one piece / leaving the forest in shards, / not yet slain, pure, defenseless, / a cursed half of what it was."
But above all, Christine has truly allowed herself to write about the death of her mother; not just her death, but her murder...at the hands of her husband, Christine's father. This Pandora's Box is opened because of the Searing Similarities -- Harry lost his parents to murder as a child, and so did she. Lost both of them, though only one was truly gone from the world. "We have a right to our mothers..." she writes, and celebrates the love that Harry received from Molly Weasley: "the Molly we love, mother we love, / motherly love." She compares her father to Voldemort: "The dark lord's father disowned him / My father's father beat him" and we have a glimpse into how difficult it must be to think of the father who has so extraordinarily abandoned her.
It could have been all dark and doom with such heavy emotional baggage, but it's a credit to Christine's strength of character that it is far from that. Her joy in discovering JK Rowlings' books is palpable. She knows them so thoroughly that every line of her poems evokes images from the reading, from the films, with words that echo JK's but are different, so different. The twinning of her two worlds -- the real forested West Coast place in which she lives, and the forested grounds of Hogwart's School -- is evident in line after line. What a unique gift! Would anyone else see a parallel between the coming of winter and a Quidditch game? "With autumn's approach she sets up guard / at the goal posts of malaise, keeps / gloom at bay with constant vigilance / and repeated saves." If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, this book will give you a brand new perspective on it. Maybe you, too, will find more of yourself than you expected. I recommend you try.
on September 1, 2012
Ok, so I will admit up front that while I am a big reader I don’t read a lot of poetry. That isn’t because I don’t enjoy it but perhaps I just haven’t made space in my reading for the right poets. Reading Chris Lowther’s new book “Half Blood Poems” has given me the impetus to make some more time for poetry.
Like many people I have read all of the Harry Potter books and enjoyed them a great deal. In fact, so many people have read them or watched the movies that they provide a rich shared experience. Ms Lowther is a big Harry Potter fan and in this book she has used references to the stories to enhance a very personal collection of poems. While Ms Lowther’s poems borrow from the Harry Potter stories to add similes and metaphors they are not about the world of Harry Potter; rather they are about her personal experiences and recollections many of which resonated for me.
I thoroughly recommend this collection of poems, you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy them but you will get more out of them if you are!
on December 14, 2011
Christine Lowther is a previously published writer and a talented poet who explores the similarities of the Harry Potter books with the personal trauma of her own youth. The poems with this premise could have been a dark read but she avoids this in part by using the natural world that is all around her, (she lives by the rain-forests of Vancouver island B.C), this force is the magic that is transformative both for her and Harry. She also has an understanding of the Potter books that is deep, potterology deep. This brings a certain weight of myth into the poems, myths that are carried into the everyday world where the characters become alive lean close and whisper words of advice and caution. This book is a brave and accomplished achievement.
on October 12, 2012
Half-Blood Poems by Christine Lowther is extraordinary, refreshing, and nothing short of magical. Deeply inspired by the phenomenal Harry Potter series, Christine manages to extract the emotions and heart from various events and moments that would otherwise go unappreciated. She delves into the innermost feelings of beloved characters and expounds on them, allowing readers to experience the world of Harry Potter with an incomparable depth.
What strikes me most about Christine's poems is how she has exposed her soul on paper. What she has been through in life is translated into beautiful, profound words of poetry. Words that will stay with you, and shake your world inside out. All the pain and tragedy she must and has endured, comes through to the reader in a raw and bleeding honesty. It goes into your mind, and touches your heart.
As a writer and poet myself, I would, without a doubt, recommend this precious collection. It is wonderful for adults and children alike, and an essential supplement for fans of the Harry Potter series. Christine understands the beauty of language, but more importantly, she understands the language of the soul.
on November 23, 2011
The Searing Similarities between Harry Potter's life and the author's are uncanny. She explores her own beginnings and his, facing horror and tragedy while treating us to humour and character study at the same time. I especially liked Light and Dark
"..when we touch a leaf, feel / its smooth, cold, wet greenness / we feel like Harry did when his wand chose him,.."
on November 23, 2012
I really loved this book, as it is, first and foremost a wonderful, beautiful read. What also strikes you immediately is the startling comparisons between between the tragic childhood and the famous tale of the boy who lived. Cleverly weaving her own experiences in with an exploration of the path that Harry had to take. Beautiful, haunting and deeply moving, these poems are an emotional journey through the stories of Harry Potter and her own life, that will leave you feeling truly inspired.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Christine is carrying on the tradition of great poetry that her mother, so prematurely taken from her, first started. A deeply moving read for both Harry Potter fans and those who have not read the books alike.
on December 2, 2012
As youths, all of us went to Hogwarts. It was our job to become wizards. We knew that life is magical and spiritual and that things are not as they seem. We knew there is danger and that we must make extreme efforts and face tremendous tests. That the base for all this is Magic. Adults have shut this down in order to order their lives... They live in a fictitious reality.
When I went to Hogwarts, there was a special person... like Harry. The one who survived. The one whose odds were the longest. The one who "lost her parents to murder as a child." We all thought we were fine (or even exceptional) wizards in training.... But she was the one who was already ahead of the game. Since for her it was not a game. And yes coincidentally she was also plagued by an expectation, a haunting.... The past, ... a "famous one".
This new book is a combining and synthesizing of powers. What did at first glance look strange, like "what the heck?" (my first reaction was puzzlement) revealed to be a freeing up of openness and acceptance. A declaration of authentic magical powers. A proof. From now on.... There is no need to be "like" anything, to appear to be a certain way. I was delighted to be made to understand this by reading Half-Blood poems. The rules are now not understandable to Muggles and we have been put in our place. We are no longer a judge of poetry, but placed in a state of wonder: Freed from expectation, freed from already knowing. Taken for a ride to a place where the rules are not clear. Is this not one of the jobs of Poetry? To keep the connection to wizard school that we all were enrolled in once?