Saturday, April 4, 2009

The English Patient

Some time ago I picked up a copy of Michael Ondaajte's book The English Patient. I was inspired to pull it off the shelf after a recommendation from Malcolm Kenyon. I'm only a few pages in, but I remember why I so liked Ondaajte's In the Skin of a Lion, which I read in college. He has a powerful way of making me feel. His gift is not in creating the emotional feelings like sad, or angry, or happy; he can make me feel a desert, make me feel exhaustion, make me feel delirium. Many authors can describe buildings, rooms, gardens, relationships, accidents, and injuries. Few can make me feel them. Ondaajte is one of the few.

I mentioned Malcolm recommended The English Patient to me; he is quite the guy himself. He works with Michelle teaching English as a second language here in Bellingham, and he's a poet among a great host of other things. We had a chapbook of his poetry on our bookshelf (I am proud to say, meager though they are, my bookshelves hold untold treasurers!). He is a very gifted poet and a fascinating person to listen to. You can hear him reading some of his poems at poetry night in Bellingham by going to poetry night's podcast site. Two of Malcolm's readings are about a quarter of the way down the page.

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