Life in Suspension

La Vie Suspendue (English and French Edition)

Poetry - General
108 Pages
Reviewed on 05/29/2016
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Author Biography

HÉLÈNE CARDONA is a poet, literary translator, actor and dream analyst, author of Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016), Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry, 2013), Readers' Favorite Book Award in Poetry and Pinnacle Book Award for Best Bilingual Poetry Book winner, International Book Awards and Julie Suk Award in Poetry Finalist, Ce que nous portons (Éditions du Cygne, 2014), her translation of Dorianne Laux, Beyond Elsewhere (White Pine Press, 2016), her translation of Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, and The Astonished Universe (Red Hen Press). She holds a Master's in American Literature from the Sorbonne, taught at Hamilton College & Loyola Marymount University, and received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut & Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. She co-edits Plume, Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics, Levure Littéraire, is Essay Contributor for the London Magazine, and was co-editor of Dublin Poetry Review. Hélène had roles in Chocolat, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Muppets Most Wanted, World War Z, Mumford, and Happy Feet 2. For Serendipity, she co-wrote with Peter Chelsom and Alan Silvestri the song Lucienne, which she also sang. She also writes children stories and co-wrote with John FitzGerald the screenplay Primate, based on his novel. Other translations include the Lawrence Bridges film Muse of Fire for the NEA, the poetry of her father José Manuel Cardona, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Aloysius Bertrand, René Depestre, Ernest Pépin, Jacques Crickillon, and Jean-Claude Renard. Born in Paris and raised all over Europe, she has lived in Switzerland, France, England, Wales, Monaco, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Life in Suspension: La Vie Suspendue (English and French Edition) is a collection of poetry written by Helene Cardona. The poet is also a translator, editor of an anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics, and an essayist. The poetry in this collection was originally written in English and then translated by the poet into French. Her collection is separated thematically into four sections which seem to bear a correlation with life cycles. Each section is prefaced with quotes that act as guideposts for the reader as he/she travels therein. Many of Cardona's works revolve around her family, most particularly her mother whose essence seems omnipresent for her daughter as expressed in her opening poem, To Kitty, Who Loved the Sea and Somerset Maugham: “Whose laughter burns snow/Whose warm breath I breathed/This morning as I woke/The scent of gardenias whispering/I never left you.” There are also memories shared of a Greek grandfather whose glib pronouncement "...a boy at last, I'm not impressed with girls" seems embedded in her consciousness. But in that family is also the world embraced in miniature: the streets of Paris, ballet classes as a child in Geneva, a grandmother in Tarragona who teaches her Spanish, horse-back riding in Wales.

Helene Cardona's bilingual collection of poetry, Life in Suspension: La Vie Suspendue, reels with energy and images that pour out into the reader's consciousness. Cardona gleefully plays with words and makes them do her bidding, joyfully violating their essence and somehow making the violation a thing of nature and beauty. I was intrigued by the bilingual nature of this work and enjoyed reading both the French and English versions, sounding out the words as I read and savoring the way the sounds and meanings meshed and played. Life in Suspension is a frank and fearless work that reveals, at times, so much of the author's essence that I felt a need to step back and allow her space, a bit of privacy. But then her next few lines would seem to acknowledge the closeness and defy any traditional need for space. This is a collection of poetry to be savored slowly and enjoyed again and again. Life in Suspension is most highly recommended.