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Reviews | Reviews | Elizabeth St Jacques

Memory House, review by Elizabeth St Jacques, Canadian Book Review Annual

     Carolyn Zonailo, the author of six previous books, describes herself as a lyric poet who uses memory and personal experience in order "to shed light on our collective human experience." The 26 poems in this collection succeed in doing just that.

     In the first group of poems, subtitled "In the House of God," the poet as wife/mother/friend/observer experiences pain, loneliness, and rejection, and derives comfort and strength from memories that harbor "a green space to enter, / a quiet space to rest" ("Among Strangers"). When beauty and love weave through her world, "the unseen / mystery of it all" is cherished ("A Summer Swim").

     In the last section of the book, "In the House of Childhood Dreams," Zonailo revisits a rich storehouse filled with such delightful childhood memories as her bedroom in the attic, a witch’s house, her Grandpa's summer visits, junk collections, and the values of her Russian family. But Zonailo is not blind to imperfection. In "Old Photographs," for example, she sees herself from the ages of 20 to 40, her eyes forever imploring the photographer to see that "a space inside of me / was made for you alone to enter."

     Zonailo's poems ring like mellow bells—clean, vivid, vibrant, brilliant. Running through this deceptively simple collection are deep currents that embrace humankind as a whole, and that issue a plea to keep sacred "the child's dreaming soul."

Copyright by Elizabeth St Jacques:, 2004. | Reviews | Elizabeth St Jacques
Wave Goddess
The Wave Goddess
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Zonailo attended ...
CZ is a visionary poet who writes with compassion and careful detail about the world she lives in.
GoddessThe Goddess in the Garden combines mystical insight and sensual language to evoke a timeless meadow where humans and deities play out eternal passions.
She draws on her study of mythology, astrology, and Jungian psychology, for a seemingly inexhaustible source of imagery.
There is a quality in her work which makes all her poems hers, but Zonailo’s style does differ. Compendium is a collection of short, lyrical poetry; Zone 5 of prose. Each book is an extension of her poetic exploration and a separate expression.
Over the years of sitting in Grant's Cafe or the Europa and talking poetry with Lewis Gretsinger, the questions have been asked: why write? what are you saying? what are your poetics?
Last Will and Testament
I give my soul to God.
I give my body to the earth.
I give my poems to posterity.
I give my spirit to tolerance.
I give my mind to the future.
Forthcoming Titles
The Land of Motionless ChildhoodThe Land of Motionless Childhood is a memoir of short stories by Carolyn Zonailo about growing up in Vancouver, and her Doukhobor heritage.
Photo Gallery
CZPictures of CZ from her 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
Literary Papers
Spanning the years 1955 to 2005, the Carolyn Zonailo Papers holds, as nearly as possible, a currently complete collection of Zonailo's extant literary papers.
CZ Go to the Top of the Page.
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