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Reduction Fired is a ponderous collection of stunning poetry that you can easily get lost in. I loved the abundance of nature imagery that was a consistent theme throughout. It worked really well with the structure of this collection, punctuated by seasons. For example, the poem 'Place' beautifully imagines a life lived underwater and the poem 'Thoughts After Reading Haiku - XXXVI.' personifies nature by likening the exposing of a tree's roots to human immodesty.
Camara effectively constructs verse that mimics the mood of her poems, such as with 'Chalk drawings - V.' where she uses oceans to depict continuity but also structures each stanza in such a way that emulates the rippling motion of waves. You could definitely tell that every sentence was carefully placed and had a clear sense of purpose. This is also true for the poem 'Enough,' about a tall tree that doesn't flower as abundantly as the other trees. In this case, shortened sentences are used to create a lengthy verse that resembles the height of a tree.
Reduction Fired is an impressive collection that develops such themes as love, strength, loss and so much more. It also felt like a personal, embodied work, reminiscent about life, both the highs and lows. I thought it was a joy to read.
Lois Cudjoe, A LoveReading Ambassador
Reduction refers to the pottery method of firing a piece in low oxygen conditions - typically by slowly reducing the oxygen that feeds the kiln's fire.
Some colours of glazes result from reduction that aren't achieved in oxidation. It may also be that the fuel-starved fire pulls oxygen from the clay itself, and in doing so draws elements from deep in the clay up to the glaze. This can make it harder to determine the precise outcome of the glazed piece.
Reduction can even change the texture of the clay. --
Jennifer Yeates Camara is a contemporary Canadian poet with a distinctly condensed style. In this first collection spanning over 25 years, she was inspired by some of the standouts of classical world poetry, including traditional Japanese haiku, Tang Chinese poets Li Po (Li Bai) and Du Fu (Tu Fu), Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, and even Biblical Hebrew poetry, as well as English and Canadian literature.
While Jennifer enjoys different forms of poetry (including the occasional sonnet), the style mostly seen in Reduction Fired is architectural. As Frank Lloyd Wright said, "'Think simple' as my old master used to say - meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles."
Here, lines are built only long enough to hold what is needed. Intimate feelings and rich visuals are described in everyday language that is clear and calm. The minimal verse at times is broken where the lines stand alone or the words at those points become different phrases with those before or after.
Many poems use parallels, or rhymes of thought, to keep ideas finely connected. Yet routinely, they take the reader to unexpected endings. Most are short shots - they may be quickly swallowed but keenly felt. And there is ever a rhythm throughout Jennifer's writings.
Largely self-taught, Jennifer is the youngest of 13 children who all grew up in severe poverty while having a love of the arts, and reading and writing especially. She moved with her mother from Ontario to British Columbia at age 9, began late French Immersion at age 11, and around that age began writing her own poetry.
Jennifer excelled at language arts and maths throughout secondary school, and this duality is still seen here in her precision and discernment in the words she chooses and where they are placed. She later explored the poetry of a variety of cultures, took trips to West Africa, and spent years managing a modern Guinean music group while working full-time in a fast-paced law firm.
The events described in these poems are common to many, as they typically involve relationships of one kind or another (like in the popular 'Chalk Drawings'). However, on occasion, Jennifer's poor beginnings, her dear friend's suicide, her spouse's disassociation from the family through addiction and her eventual mental breakdown do reveal themselves in certain poems or phrases.
Jennifer presently works as a paralegal and lives with her son Mohamed in Vancouver, Canada. For more information on Jennifer, her influences and her photos, please visit yeatescamara.com.
|Publication date:||25th May 2021|
|Author:||Jennifer Yeates Camara|
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
This is a quick and easy to read collection of poems that can be read from cover to cover, travelling backwards through the seasons from Winter to Spring.
‘Reduction Fired’ refers to a pottery firing technique that I think is evoked in this collection of poetry. The firm structure of the poems are the kiln. The author’s reduction of all outside noise to hone in on a single idea is the removal of oxygen from the kiln. And the result, the pot, is a unique poem, rich with detail with plenty for the reader to ponder over.
This is a quick and easy to read collection of poems that can be read from cover to cover, travelling backwards through the seasons from Winter to Spring. I could also see this as a book that poetry fans could return to, discovering new ideas or revisiting their favourites. I thought each poem flowed well and that there was a nice variety of length, and structure.