Poetry Collection De Jolie-laide
Diane Anjoue
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Buy *Poetry Collection De Jolie-laide: Wanting to Be Lost Within...* by Diane Anjoue online

Poetry Collection De Jolie-laide: Wanting to Be Lost Within...
Diane Anjoue
Lulu Press
92 pages
January 2006
rated 3 of 5 possible stars
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Inspired by the French expression “Jolie-laide,” the inherent contradiction of attraction-repulsion - literally “pretty-ugly” - this poet finds the phrase seductive, “a wonderful quirkiness implying charisma.” The selections reflect both seduction and ambiguity, love won and lost, regretted:

“Wake up and sip the hemlock…
dull the pain and accept love’s demise.

Spread your wings, bare your heart
Teach me a sorely needed lesson.” (“Redeemed and Justified?”)
Throughout the collection, one cannot help but notice the recurring theme of a woman on the cusp of despair, her honeyed words fanciful, joyous, preparatory, followed by tears, anguish, rejection. Frequently the pursuer, she selflessly offers bounty, only to be left to ponder in the morning light what pain her romanticism has wrought:
“Used up and damaged, worthless;
she has naught to bring him. Yet,
he’s offered more than he deserves.” (“Tempered Anguish”)
Opposites are expected, anticipated: while love wallows in its charmed existence; meanwhile, its twin, loss, waits in the wings, anxious for the next act, the flip side of the emotional coin:
“Yet being strong is not enough
when my heart opens without pause;
for as the notion of reality invades
my dreams, I’m left numbly wide awake.” (“Bel Hevi”)
Sprinkling in cultural references (“wabi-sabi”, “Sassafras Bitch”) and the occasional line in French, it is difficult to relate to these poems past a certain point of empathy, each new ecstasy burdened with the requisite anguish, the theme of loss more powerful than the joy of requited love, payment extracted mercilessly. Truly, amour is laced with danger for the romantic, highs followed by throes of despair and the burden of tears. Certainly jolie-laide is evoked, too few the moments of contentment without drama.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2006

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