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Author Biography

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It reminds us of those people, memories, and desires we carry around within us, often without knowing it, until we sleep, dream, and remember our most precious feelings, memories, and sensations. We are certain that the poetry which reminds us who we are and where we have been is of utmost importance and brings us back to the root system of soul, psyche, and personality.

And yet words are so important to this writer. If they are used at all, they are to be treated as precious gems, each to be chosen, cut, shaped, and set into her design with care, like her poems. This is the honey that brings forth sweets for the soul: the consolation of art. In dreaming we travel to a place where all is forgiven. The message, to me, is clear. We are to bring that afterlife into the current one, both in connecting with the tides around and within us, and in receiving the information given to us by nature and myth.

Anyone who has grieved the loss of childhood experience, of treasured places far away, or of a loved one close to home can appreciate the sensitivity with which the poet conveys her longing to recapture these losses in art. I find much to appreciate here, and I am relieved to discover that solid ground may be established by embracing all that we are: the dream-life, a connection to nature, memory, and the imaginary.

By doing so, the book raises several compelling questions about the relationship between language and human consciousness: Does language, with its complex grammatical rules, limit what is possible within conscious experience? When one inhabits more than one language, what possibilities open up for thought, expression, and the creation of meaning? Lastly, does language make us who we are, or is there an identity core that exists apart from, or beyond, language? As Cardona teases out possible answers to these thought-provoking questions, her poems prove to be as image-rich and musical as they are faultlessly constructed.

With that in mind, Cardona's decision to present the same poems in two languages is especially fascinating. By doing so, the poet suggests the myriad ways that language structures thought, as the poems frequently exhibit subtle differences across languages. Cardona's decision to present the poems in both French and English suggests that meaning resides beyond language, as it is often modified to fit grammatical and syntactical conventions.

Cardona's use of translation to make these ambitious philosophical claims about the nature of language and conscious experience is compelling and masterful. In the English version of the poem, the words "offers" and "me" appear on separate lines, halved by Cardona's provocative enjambment. In the French version, however, linguistic conventions almost dictate that the words for "offer" and "me" "m'offre" will appear on the same line. Cardona's use of translation calls our attention to the myriad ways that somewhat arbitrary linguistic rules ultimately determine the structure of a poem, and in many ways, the structures of thought itself.

Dreaming My Animal Selves is filled with poems like this one, which are as beautifully rendered as they are ambitious and self-aware. Along these lines, Cardona presents both the poem and the self as existing in a constant state of becoming, which unfolds across languages and cultures. Cardona's use of form more specifically, the structure of the book itself to convey this ambitious claim about identity is truly impressive. I admire Cardona's skillful use of form to literally enact the content of the poem. Just as the speaker exists in a constant state of becoming, so too does the poem, particularly as it is ferried from language to language, made to inhabit vastly different syntaxes and adhere to their underlying logic.

In many ways, Cardona suggests a parallel between the poem and the individual self, particularly as the speaker is constructed and then reconstructed by language. As the poem appears in French, then English, the speaker is carried from one tradition, one cultural milieu to the next, and situated against these very different backdrops. By placing the same speaker within multiple literary, cultural, and sonic landscapes, she gestures at the possibility of an identity that exists apart from and beyond a specific culture, language, or politics, a thought-provoking claim that is made as much through form as it is through content.

In short, this is a stunning collection, and Cardona is a poet to watch. Kristina Marie Darling is the author of over twenty books of poetry and hybrid prose. Johnson in Julie's Reviews in Goodreads : Into the liminal space between dreams and conscious thought slips this slim enchantment. I read these poems aloud in French, then silently in English, and once I came to the end, I turned back and started again. Whispers wake me. What happens in the mind, in the mouth, when language changes?

Does the essence of the poem remain, or is something else entirely other conjured from the soul when syntax and sound are altered? French demands elisions and different consonant rhythms and adjustments of vocal structure in poetic form that English does not so in effect, translation notwithstanding, the different cadence and musicality of the verses changes the way we approach the language within. I trace patterns in dreams through beings disguised undone like particles broken apart revealing pieces of me.

In Cardona's poetry, it is the animal self, the other we inhabit in subconscious, the living, breathing forces of nature that propel us from life to death. Songer in its verb form means more than 'to dream'; it is to think, consider, ponder-an active, conscious state of being, existing within the world. The desire to move to a place in my mind where I've always been well brings me back to innocence placing roses, certain enigma of migratory years, out of bounds moon. With the bones of the skull I listen to a language of rain, prism, melody of a world becoming.

She shows the body and soul seeking harmony, batting against the bars of the conscious mind to be released into flights of imagination in verses at once earthy and ethereal. The poet is herself part of it.

I have truly enjoyed reading these poems in both English and French. I sleep with fervor. Begin with a dream. In each tiny but intense world, we feel the power of dreams. All is possible, there are many enigmas but the unifying thread is animal life and the possibilities of being anything other than human, if only for a short time. Dreamy, mystical and enjoyable. Well translated work takes on another life in its new language, and surely the multi-lingual author with a foot in both camps occupies a privileged position with regard to the ability to convey meaning in the most precise and appropriate idiom possible.

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The poems in this collection do concern themselves explicitly with movement, shape-shifting and liminal states of consciousness. It did not disappoint. There is a reason the first word of the title is "dreaming. I felt that my "doors of perception," as Blake put it, had been cleansed at least to some degree each week. After she announced at the beginning of the book that the poems were interestingly first written in her non-native English, and then translated by herself into French, for some reason I was surprised that the French translation came first en face before the English, but I discovered this to be an ingenious placement, since I was almost being forced to read at least glimpses of the French I know very little of that language, though my Spanish helps.

Doing so, your perceptions are already released from their current corridors, catalyzed by Cardona's chemistry to experience these dreamlike sensations.

It should be noted that Cardona is a dream interpreter, one of her many diverse talents and occupations, and this book is truly a tapestry of enchanting dreams. But the book is more than just phosphorescent, translucent dreams and illusions, and the passages to them. It is about consciousness, too, about illumination, with animals, as per the title, frequently playing a central role. There, a deck of cards allows her to shuffle her perceptions, to look out through the other side of the world for a glimpse of the hidden.

It is about the strength that grows from pursuing discovery. And, with that, reading these poems is a truly joyous act. Mark Eisner heads Red Poppy, an organization focused on promoting socially conscious Latin American poetry. Did I also mention that she speaks several languages? So it will probably come as no surprise that her poetry is as brilliant and dazzling as her resume would suggest. Each poem is printed in both French and English translated by Cardona, herself , and while it is a slim collection, the poems are rich in myth, imagination, biology, art, language, and literature.

An exploration of spirit rather than body, Dreaming My Animal Selves thrums across an everyday wilderness that transcends time, geography, history, and the physical self. Dreaming My Animal Selves takes readers to some sort of limbo where reality and fantasy combine to create a brief yet precise overalp of clarity. Karli Cude, previous moderator of Hooked Bookworm, is an avid reader and former bookseller.

She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B. Here the ancestors became manifestations of all living creatures and the elements. The Dreaming is the sacred seat of the Earth and infuses and inspires all aspects of tribal life; it is this network of complex relationships with the natural world reflected in the creation myths and songs that makes, evolves and informs everything. The dream opens forgotten worlds of creation. And, through the Dreaming, the reader is informed that these forgotten realms may well be what the real time is is there time on the outside?

The dream world is not only more real. It is entirely effortless. Like the shaman, with the help of her animal selves, Cardona is conjuring herself back into life. In dreams like rain my mother visits. Her voice will not be silenced for it is formidable and echoes those of all beloved. Thankfully, there are writers like Helene Cardona that move beyond this box in their work.

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Left unchecked, this narrative creates separation between human beings and animals that, at the core, justifies and allows for the extinction of the latter. The idea of hidden treasures experienced in dreams is shared in From the Heart with Grace. In dreaming is the Divine created The beauty of this piece is that the dreamer does not want to be in control.

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This lesson is learned from the penguin who serves as teacher. Therefore, a more free self comes about from the interaction with the animal. Cardona admits that she is not reinventing the wheel in calling attention to the need for unity between human beings and the natural world. Other poets have done what she is doing. In a more contemporary context, one can put forth Mary Oliver as a poet whose work reflect the move toward wholeness of life. In talking about the process of writing, Oliver said she likes to take walks and gets inspired to write during the walks i.

On the other hand, it is not the waking world but sleep that serves as inspiration for Cardona. I trace patterns in dreams through being disguised undone like particles broken apart revealing pieces of me. I pursue elusive sleep in the hope to heal mishaps the last chance to anchor my boat It is interesting that Oliver and Cardona take separate paths to reach the same conclusion, that of the need for the wholeness of life. This happening shows astute inventiveness on the part of Cardona. Dreamer is one of the longer poems in the collection, and is also one of the strongest.

Consider this, be fortunate, grateful, consider this, be alive for the greatest gift is given with death. There is no end and no beginning, Surrender, surrender, surrender The person becomes a free self in surrendering to what is experienced in dreams and living accordingly when awake. Fortunately, her work helps show the way. A poet's pleasure is to withhold a little of his meaning, to intensify it by mystification.

He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. The introductory praises and Foreword give ready inspiration to any serious poet, along with a full-page list of acknowledgements for further reading. They act as thresholds on which to pause and reflect, before entering each section. Cardona has chosen the latter to capture curiosity, imagination, images of water and sky dependent on winds and physical states. One of the advantages of a bilingual version of poems is to draw attention to the syntax, and to intensify the mystery of seeming discrepancies. Titles shimmer somewhat differently in the French translation.

What is a self?

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What is an animal self with the sound of Jungian anima? All these poems have been published in a broad range of journals and reviews. The themes in this collection are universal and the poems cover such, themes as; classicism, cosmology, psychology, philosophy, nature, and touching on areas of theism. We are taken on a long winding journey by an evocative descriptive ability. Helene Cardona adeptly shows her skill as a poet in this collection. Review: Dreaming My Animal Selves reviewed by Michael Meteyer Helene Cardona has managed the impossible here: she has combined a perfect mastery of words with an exquisite imagination to explore the inner world of animals and the hidden worlds of the human heart.

The poems in DREAMING themselves have the quality of dreams, where all things are possible, and we fly "behind a procession of swans to an island in the heart of Paris The dream opens forgotten realms of creation.

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Cardona wears her erudition lightly, so that what is most evident at first is a deep sense of love for the world and a marvel of its creations: her heart has mastered possibility. As for forms, however formless dreams may seem, it is only the writers of the highest rank who can sculpt the feeling of a dream in language.

In "Peregrine Pantoum" Helene Cardona has taken on one of the most complex and difficult poetic forms in existence, the pantoun, and accomplishes it with grace and elegant and apparent ease it's not easy, it's impossible. Please, you try it I loved this book. I hope you will too. The poetry world will be talking about it for a long time. Irish poetry in the main is conservative, clinging intensely to the legacy of Austin Clarke and, too often perhaps, the disquieting ruralism of Patrick Kavanagh.

Seamus Heaney, Ireland's Nobel Prize recipient, is a rural poet in this vein. Irish poets who emigrated to Europe, to Italy, Spain or France or Germany, tended to stay there, sifting through the various literary influences impossible even to permit in Ireland in their time and producing a distinctly un-Irish literature.

In spite of paid-for trips abroad in our own day, literary festivals worldwide and all kinds of access to non-Irish poetry, Ireland's poets have continued to immerse themselves in the tried and true, such as Maurice Scully and Trevor Joyce being notable exceptions. This is not to say that European poets have not been translated and published here, both into Irish and English; there has even arisen, predictably, a 'fashion' for being associated with the 'glamourous' notion of translating, which has resulted in poets working from material already translated by others describing themselves as translators on book jackets, which I personally find abhorrent.

But a reluctance to indulge in serious translating and publishing translations continues to exist, in spite of the excellent efforts of the Irish Translators' Association and small publishers such as Northern Ireland's Lapwing Poetry. This is all very peculiar, considering that so many Irish novelists, for instance, are published in so many different languages around the world; only Dublin-based Lilliput Press has undertaken to a publish a novel in translation by a French writer.

A first glance into this collection reveals the nuances and enigmas of the French language pitted against the equally nuanced English; if the reader is expecting straight meanings and an Anglo-Saxon basicness, he or she will be disappointed. One of the boons of this book is to distinctly define the borders of what language means and what it implies, and how language itself implicates the reader in its decoding.

This is about imagism and unrestricted imagination, put plain; thus do the English poems read like interpretations of dreams, or dreams awaiting translation, rather than as black-and-white renderings of language and word-identity. Translator and poet Willis Barnstone remarks in a jacket blurb on the 'metaphysical experiences' in the poems, but the metaphysics is arguably in the language already.

Interesting in all of this to remember that the author wrote these poems in English and translated them afterwards, which leads one to ponder whether she thought in French while writing them originally in English. It is, however, inarguable, to my mind, that the poems in English are distinct and of themselves as against the translations into French; that is, a new poem is created in the translating, the moreso here because French is a uniquely tonic language, whose nasals, elisions and barely-breathed consonantly endings when required for rhyming purposes have no equivalent value in English.

Only the French language here can, as it were, do justice to the French poem. Perhaps there is validity in the notion that poems cannot in a true sense accurately translated.