Blot Lit Reviews: Celadon by Lucia Blinn
Celadon, Lucia Blinn
First Flight Books, 2013
Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley
Celadon, one of Lucia Blinn’s several full-length collections, allows readers to watch the reel of memories play across her mind. With poem titles such as, “I was a Teenage Knitter,” “Consider the College Drop-Out,” and “What Do You Think When I Say: Potato Pancakes?,” Blinn provides readers with a personal account of various events in her life, which she juxtaposes references to popular culture to better connect to her audience.
The text includes themes such as the past, the slow take-over of technology, pop culture, and politics, and she often places the reader in her own life, providing references to popular events to place us in the larger historical moment.
All of the poems include concrete images, at times reading more like flash fiction pieces than poetry; although this gives a glimpse into the author’s life, it can sometimes feel too personal to connect to a larger audience. She speaks of certain people in her life, not always telling us who the people are to her, and though some readers may find it trying to latch onto some relatable image, the prose has a beautiful simplicity which makes the collection feel real, honest.
In, “Oh, Beyonce,” she points out the absurdity of
the 150-carat diamond ring
that Jay-Z paid $70,000,000 for
and gave to his now wife. She points out:
I wonder what a $10,000,000 ring
might look like
what the leftover $60,000,000
might look like on people
who don’t look like
Beyonce. This social commentary hints at issues of poverty and the American celebrity and the ridiculous amounts of money some people spend while others starve.
One of the major themes of the text is the past, which she beautifully captures in, “Cheers.”
We inhaled each other’s fumes between courses
and lingered over coffee and cognac
and cigarettes. Nobody said they’d kill us.
Mornings after, there were hangovers.
You remember them.
The good old days.
This poem had me reminiscing of my early 20s—dinner parties and indulgence, drinking with friends and laughing long into the night.
“Leave Nothing” is an existential exploration of death and memory. She sees a backpack with the white painted words,
and she posits
Perhaps I am to leave nothing but a poem
scribbled in the sand.
This poem echoes Walt Whitman’s, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” as it questions the nature of death for the artist, who inevitably lives on through the works they behind to share with strangers from beyond the grave.
Addiction is another theme—one that many can connect to on a very real level. In “Someone Put Me in the Dryer and I Have Shrunk. Or, Nearer My Grave to Thee,” she writes,
One wonders if it’s time
to start drinking again.
This issue, perhaps more than the others she discusses, is a highly relatable problem. Many of us fight with addictions, not just to illegal substances, but to cigarettes, alcohol, and even coffee—all subjects discussed within Blinn’s collection.
Ms. Lucia Blinn’s poetry is a candid look at the author—a rare glimpse into an artist’s world. And though a younger audience may struggle connecting to poems like, “B.G.,” where she writes,
Before Google, you had a telephone.
It was black.
Or you were out and didn’t answer.
I believe that readers of all ages and walks of life can find something to cling to in Celadon. Whether it’s to take a stroll through the good ole’ days or to think critically about social issues and popular culture, Blinn’s rounded collection is worth picking up today to read over too many cups of coffee at Starbucks—an addiction you probably share with this author.