Saturday, June 8, 2019

Book Review: Gilded Snow: The Poems of Raissa Parnok

Click here to buy online

Edited with commentary by David Chorlton

As a genre, feline poetry is generally both overlooked and underrated by humans. How many four-legged poets among us have suffered the indignity of being ignored? How many of their contributions to our planet’s poetic soul have been lost? We’ll never possess the answer to these grave questions—but, fortunately, some atonement is now available in this slim volume.

Gilded Snow: The Poems of Raissa Parnok purports to be this snow-white kitty’s complete oeuvre. Through the astute commentary of David Chorlton, we learn what there is to be known about her life and times, as well as her influences and interpretations of her enigmatic work.

Like sensitive souls of every species, Raissa’s turn towards poetry may have had its roots in trauma: a 13-day disappearance that remains shrouded in mystery. Over a year later, she turned to writing—Chorlton observes, “we must conclude that she channels her innermost feelings only into this small but intense output.”

With access to a computer keyboard upon which her paws could roam freely, Raissa began her poetic career with this haiku-like foray:

=- 32wwwwwwwww

Chorlton writes, “Significant here is the use of punctuation at the beginning of the line to point forward…Numerology adds to the mystery. The poet has chosen not to speak on this in public.”

She proceeds to let her imagination run wild, as in this elegant example which “shows Raissa at her best and most contemporary”:

cv       .c


Yet the poet did not restrict herself to brief forms. She also experimented with Whitman-esque long forms before returning to word-play seemingly influenced by Robert Creeley or Gertrude Stein. In a section titled “Poetry at the Watershed of Meaning,” we find:


Chorlton offers, “The speechless quality of this work is beyond dispute. We face a barrier across a border, indicating that New World Order or not, we still live with boundaries of physical and spiritual dimensions and only the international language that has no alphabet is adequate to communicate across them.”
As a bonus, there are many photos of Raissa among these pages—including a rare poster from her reading at the Cool Cats Book Shoppe in Phoenix—plus watercolors of Raissa by Chorlton. There is also a sample poem from a kitty named Cleveland, one of Raissa’s followers who carried on her legacy of C=A=T poetry.

Perhaps more than most human poets, Raissa understood that “each work is a new beginning.” Her creative output and Chorlton’s wry interludes make for an enjoyable read.

About the Commentator/Editor:
David Chorlton came to Phoenix from Europe in 1978 with his wife Roberta, an Arizona native. He quickly became comfortable with the climate while adjusting to the New World took longer. Writing and reading poetry have helped in that respect, as has exposure to the American small presses. He and Roberta have shared their living space with many cats over the years, each one distinguished in his or her own way while Raissa stands out for her cultural leanings.

Reading T. S. Eliot to a Bird (Hoot 'n Waddle, 2018)
Bird on a Wire (Presa Press, 2017)
A Field Guide to Fire (FutureCycle Press, 2015)
Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2014)
The Devil's Sonata (FutureCycle Press, 2012)

 - - -
About the Reviewer:


  1. Replies
    1. IEEE Final Year Project centers make amazing deep learning final year projects ideas for final year students Final Year Projects for CSE to training and develop their deep learning experience and talents.

      IEEE Final Year projects Project Centers in India are consistently sought after. Final Year Students Projects take a shot at them to improve their aptitudes, while specialists like the enjoyment in interfering with innovation.

      corporate training in chennai corporate training in chennai

      corporate training companies in india corporate training companies in india

      corporate training companies in chennai corporate training companies in chennai

      I have read your blog its very attractive and impressive. I like it your blog. Digital Marketing Company in Chennai

  2. Great blog thanks for sharing Looking for the best creative agency to fuel new brand ideas? Adhuntt Media is not just a digital marketing company in chennai. We specialize in revamping your brand identity to drive in best traffic that converts.

  3. Nice blog thanks for sharing Growing your own plant comes with its own challenges and responsibilities. This is why you need a plant nursery in chennai who is ready to help you out throughout the way and guide you through the hurdles of growing a plant - Enter Karuna Nursery Gardens.

  4. Excellent blog thanks for sharing Pixies Beauty Shop is unlike any of the other cosmetic shops in Chennai. With tons of exclusive imported brands to choose from and the best value, this is the best shopping destination for your personal and salon needs.

  5. Very useful blog thanks for sharing While choosing your perfect ride for driving, Accord Cars comes with and the best packages for you to pick from. Self drive cars in Chennai are done the easier. Just pick out your plan from hourly, daily, weekly and even monthly plans available.

  6. Interesting blog thanks for sharing Pearls beauty lounge is the best beauty parlour in chennai. More than 30+ years experience in this field. When you come over at Pearl’s you don’t visit a just a beauty lounge, you are welcomed into an indulging experience which you’ll want to feel again and again. Our secret ingredient for your happiness is in going an extra mile to make you feel pampered.

  7. Thanks for sharing Being a consistent website designing and website development company in Chennai, with a unique piece of work to every client to fulfill their worth to be paid for our website design services in Chennai.

  8. I am really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. Can citizens get a Turkey visa on arrival? Tourists and business travelers who meet e-Visa requirements can usually obtain a visa online within 24 hours.

  9. This is a wonderful inspiring article. I am practically satisfied with your great work. You have really put together extremely helpful data. Keep it up... Continue... Getting a kenya online visa is quite convenient. Anyone can apply at any time of the day.

  10. This article is really very helpful for me and I really appreciate you for sharing it with me… Emergency / emergency Indian visa application form (Process within 1 to 3 days) You can easily avail the facility for immediate processing of your Indian Visa by applying through the fast track Indian visa services we provide.

  11. Thanks for all you do. I like the website themes and layout, you are posting amazing blog.... What is a Sticker Visa for Turkey? E-visa is far easier to apply for than the sticker visa as it is an online and electronic method & Visa-Turkish website. Have you read all the benefits of the Turkey e-Visa & how to apply for the Turkey e-Visa? Get all info from Visa-Turkish website.

  12. Such a very informative article... I appreciate your work, keep it up... India has so many places for vacation, sightseeing, and traveling to India. With an Indian e-tourist visa, you can explore all the places in India that have too many things to do.

  13. Good morning all ! I hope you all are doing well & safe. The process of obtaining an Indian tourist visa for US citizens is easy and straightforward online, whether you want a 30-day, one-year, or five-year visa.