Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Saudade, Thirty Poems of Longing


That's the name of my poetry chapbook that was accepted by Finishing Line Press. The poems were inspired by our trips my husband and I took to Portugal and our introduction to the song form, Fado, which has been compared to the Blues in America.

I'm really so pleased. I've had children's novels published, and individual poems, but this is my first poetry collection. Finishing line Press is taking pre-orders now, and the book will be mailed out on February 14th. If you are interested, you can go to Finishing Line Press's website and scroll through the books. (They only publish books of poetry and art.) And here are some kind blurbs I've been given:

"Elizabeth Varadan‘s first book of poetry, Saudade, Thirty Poems of Longing, is aptly named.  The first saudade speaks eloquently of longing as “a yearning for what was, what could have been but was stillborn” and later in another poem she relates that in saudade there are no returns nor arrivals.  In this book, Portugal, a country she loves becomes a place we know as she brings us poems of fado—like the blues.  She speaks eloquently of our troubled land and of loss echoing my sadness for America.  The four saudades in this book frame a lovely unity.  Phantoms of promise in the third bring us to a place of keeping the heart dormant so that in the fourth we learn to trust again.  This first book is a beautiful read, not to be missed."
–Allegra Jostad Silberstein, Poet Laureate for the city of Davis 2010-2012

"In SaudadeThirty Poems of Longing, Elizabeth Varadan reckons with an untranslatable Portuguese word, the title of this exquisite chapbook, in order to evoke a universal emotion: longing for what was lost, missing, never fully known, never truly experienced. Music, poetry, and travel offer her poignant glimpses of this evanescent but irrepressible condition, which comes close to love but escapes, sometimes into the thin air of memory. Yet once saudade has been evoked, other emotions emerge in Varadan’s poems: nostalgia, terror, sorrow, dread, and hope all appear and fade into a muted acceptance of fate. What lingers is the haunting echo of the fado, the quintessentially Portuguese blues that Varadan too sings, quietly, and with perfect phrasing."
–Bradley W. Buchanan, Professor Emeritus, Department of English, California State University, Sacramento.

"In this short, cohesive collection, Elizabeth Varadan steeps us in saudade, that peculiarly Portuguese feeling of regretful longing, and we emerge, ironically and gratefully, more hopeful for the immersion."
–Naomi J. Williams, Author of Landfalls (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2015)

I hope to post soon more about our travels to Spain. I took lots of pictures, but haven't had time to download them yet. Stay tuned.


Do you like to read poetry? If so, do you like anthologies or collections by one author? Do you write poetry? If so, have you put together any collections yet? And do you belong to any poetry groups? I've joined two and have found them so helpful. It's wonderful to be in the company of poets!

16 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Huge congratulations.
Someone (Rumi?) said that poetry is the language of the heart. Which sounds about right to me (despite my heart being multi-lingual).

Mirka Breen said...

Brava, Elizabeth. this is a beautiful achievement.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

EC, I think my heart is multi-lingual, too. I'm studying Spansh, and so I've started looking for poems by Spanish-speaking poets that include English translations. (It's really helpful.) What are the languages of your heart?

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Mirka, thank you. It's very rewarding, as it's my first venture into chapbooks. I've submitted individual poems, many of which get rejected, but never a collection before. So I nearly swooned when I saw the acceptance letter!

Rosi said...

Congratulations! Those are some lovely comments.

Kenda Turner said...

Once again, congratulations! I'll be preordering your book :-) Very happy for you and can't wait to read your poetry...

Elephant's Child said...

My heart is happiest when it speaks/hears beauty. In all its multi-facetted genres.

Sandra Cox said...

Oh, Elizabeth. How exciting and how lovely. The cover is wonderful.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Rosi. Those comments meant a lot to me, being from writers I greatly admire.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

E. C. Thanks for stopping by again. That is a beautiful poetic line/quote. It's quite haunting.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Kenda, I'm really glad you will be reading it. Your post about the 30 day challenge was the board I dived off, a really inspiration.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Sandra, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you like the cover. It's a photo my husband took. He's into black and white film photography. I'll pass your compliment on to him.

Geo. said...

Dear Elizabeth, Closest I've got to understanding Fado, and the mindset of Saudade, is an old quote about another --remotely related genre on the other end of the emotional spectrum-- music-form, Jazz, from Louis Armstrong:"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know." Likewise, since childhood, my concept of Saudade has grown in cyclic redefinition --like Jazz-- with a life of its own. Oh my, I believe I've just defined Art.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Geo. Thanks for your comment. The more I listen to Fado, the more deeply it resonates and the more I appreciate the sheer poetry that often goes into the lyrics (as opposed to rock and roll lyrics or the old love ballades of the 40s & 50s—which, by the way, I also like). The same is true of jazz for me: As in classical music, the more I listen, the more I hear. Re: Saudade, I was interested to learn on our last trip to Galicia that it's part of the Galician mindset, as well the Portuguese. In so many ways, Galicia is like a northern extension of Portugal. One thing I love about poetry is how it opens up other cultures to one's awareness.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Hi Elizabeth, I've been offline for three days, so visiting you was a priority. HUGE congratulations to you on being published again. I am thrilled for you. Looks like you got some excellent reviews, too. I'm SO happy for you and look forward to seeing more success come your way.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks so much, Elizabeth. I really appreciate your enthusiasm and support!