Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review - Eunoia

EunoiaLet me explain this, for those who don't know. Eunoia is the shortest word in the English language that contains all five vowels. It means "beautiful thinking." Eunoia is also the title of Christian Bok's poetry book, which is what I'm reviewing.

So... why did you buy this?

Okay, so I was walking home with some friends and one of them mentioned the word Eunoia. He thought it was pretty neat. He told us what it meant, why he liked it, stuff like that. The next day I saw a book - this book - that had the title Eunoia. I thought, "That has to be a sign." I read some Amazon reviews. I read the first page. I liked what Bok was doing. I bought the book.

What's so special about it?

There are five chapters in the Eunoia section of the book - A, E, I, O, U. Each chapter uses only the title vowel in it, no others. So chapter A is made up only of words that contain an A. Even Y is avoided. He doesn't cheat! He gets through all five vowels with this, swearing a few times, telling some wonderful stories through the poems and displaying the full force of the English language. It's experimental poetry on a whole new level! I've never read anything like it, and I don't think I'll ever read anything like it again.

Was it difficult to read?

It takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you get into it it's fairly easy to read. You begin to appreciate the style and the grace and the power of the individual vowels. Bok's control over words it just too impressive to worry about not understanding everything he's saying. So, a little bit difficult, but worth it.

Recommended to..?

If you're looking for something unique, this is it. If you love words, this is for you. If you like experimental forms of writing, buy this book. But if you want something easy, don't bother. If you want something that makes sense grammatically and within all the usual constraints of speech - even written speech - then don't go for this. There are plenty of books that fall into line with language you can understand in the ways you understand it. Still, it's a wonderful book. I hope that if you do read it you'll enjoy it. 

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