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Reviews | Reviews | Elaine O'Farrell

A Portrait of Paradise, review by Elaine O'Farrell, The Vancouver Courier

     A Portrait of Paradise, the latest offering by Kerisdale poet-in-residence Carolyn Zonailo, is the poet's attempt to render actual experiences "with as little artifice as possible".

     Published by blewointment press, the book is divided into the zones of the poet's reality; landscapes, portraits (several describe the "female nude"), songs (to spring, to the moon, to sleep) and mandalas. Her writing is sensual, rich and textured. Scenes painted with words convey a mood, a feeling. She quotes Cézanne: "One minute in the life of the world is going by. Paint it as it is."

     Zonailo's mandalas, or "magic circles", which make up the last quarter of the whole are primitive, childlike doodles. The illustrations, with titles like "dream and reality", "the double yolk separates" and "sometimes when you look at the horizon, it expands", cry out for better reproduction and colour. The sketches are Zonailo's "search for the human place in the seemingly impersonality of the universe". The circles "are not contained by always expanding", she writes.

     The book's cover is illustrated by David Simmons' sketch of "the meaning of life", similar to the famous Escher trompe d'oeil of a hand drawing a hand.

     Previous books by the author include Inside Passage, auto-da-fe, Zone 5, Split Rock and The Wide Arable Land.

Copyright by Elaine O’Farrell:, 2004. | Reviews | Elaine O'Farrell
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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