Years ago, I first stumbled on a poem of Christina’s in a small magazine. It struck me immediately how well she was able to cram so much insight and impact into such a compact piece. I knew right then that I needed to keep an eye on her. Now, she has a Stoker under her belt for her first collection and this new bit of tasty treats for my greedy eyeholes.
A Collection Of Dreamscapes isn’t a cohesive grouping of single-focus poems, but it isn’t quite as scattershot as a fully unthemed collection can be. Instead, it is cut up into five sections (The Love Song of Allegra, Fairy Tales, All the Monsters in the World, A Capacity for Violence, and Myths and Dreamscapes). Each section sets a thematic through-line for the poems in that section and gives a sense of continuity to it. I also dig that this breaks up what is a fairly large poetry collection into more reasonable meals.
One of the things CHristina has become known for is her ability to craft entrancing stories full of depth and meaning within her poems. She has this knack for giving the reader just enough on the page to build the images and plot in their head, while leaving enough unsaid that it is not dictated for the reader. Poems like “Never the Light,” which plays with the vampire myth while addressing abuse and the need to break from that cycle, do this marvelously.
Now, I will admit that some will be put off by the first section, The Love Song of Allegra. Especially those who are fans of her usually deciptively straight-ahead and trimmed down style. This section is clearly modeled on the myths of ancient Greece and the style reflects that. It is a little stiffer than her usual approach and can feel a bit more daunting. It fits well with the story she tells, and I enjoyed it, but may not be for everyone. The good news is that you can just skip by it if you want a return to her more typical style.
Overall, A Collection of Dreamscapes is exactly what I have come to expect from Christina: full of heart, personal, and powerful while opening up her view of the world to include a variety of different lenses and angles of approach.