Dreaming My Animal Selves: Le Songe de mes Âmes Animales
(Bilingual Collection in French and English)
by Hélène Cardona,
Review by Kristen D. Scott
If writer Lewis Carroll is the creator of "Wonderland," where animals and an inquisitive young lady named Alice magically transform, then Hélène Cardona is his counterpart in poetry.
In her new collection by Salmon Poetry, Dreaming My Animal Selves / Le Songe de mes Âmes Animales, Cardona enchants the reader with delightful kingdoms of animals, dreams, remembrance, and transformations:
Do you remember a language older
than time, when a shiver down my mother's
spine was worth a thousand words
and the melancholy in my father's eyes,
reflecting Lake Geneva, was indecipherable?
There unbeknownst to me
in a world inhabited by swans,
I too swim in concentric circles
to find the resonance of my core
and discover that in dreaming
lies the healing of earth. In dreaming
we travel to a place where all is forgiven.
In dreaming is the Divine created.
(“From the Heart with Grace” 12-24)
Hélène Cardona is a renaissance unto herself: writer, actress, mistress of language; she captures her journey beautifully as she lives her global experiences on the page, giving her readers an escape into the magic of her world. In “Dreams Like Water,” she writes:
I trace patterns in dreams
through beings 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.
Cardona believes a close relationship and study of animals restores the soul. The reader is introduced to swans, turtles, herons, and “a colt flown through her window". There is an isle where “A winged hare offers/ a turtle with ancient markings," and a “statuesque sleek crane, whispers”
(“Isle of the Immortals” 4-5 & 15).
Dreaming My Animal Selves / Le Songe de mes Âmes Animales, is an enchanting and elegant read. Cardona charms her reader with the other worlds where animals guide the psyche in realms of dreams.
Hélène Cardona is a poet, linguist, literary translator and actress, author of Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry, 2013), Pinnacle Book Award & Readers’ Favorite Award winner, The Astonished Universe (Red Hen Press, 2006), Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016), and Ce que nous portons (Éditions du Cygne, 2014), her translation of What We Carry by Dorianne Laux. Beyond Elsewhere, her translation of Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac is forthcoming in 2016. She holds a Master’s in American Literature from the Sorbonne, taught at Hamilton College and LMU, and received the Poiesis Award of Honor and fellowships from the Goethe-Institut & Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. She is Chief Executive Editor of Dublin Poetry Review and Levure Littéraire, and Managing Editor of Fulcrum. Publications include Washington Square, World Literature Today, Poetry International, The Warwick Review, Irish Literary Times, and many more. Acting credits include Chocolat, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Jurassic World, etc. For Serendipity, she co-wrote with Peter Chelsom & Alan Silvestri the song Lucienne, which she also sang.
She speaks six languages and has lived in Paris, Switzerland, England, Wales, Monaco, Germany, Spain, New York City and Santa Monica, and travels extensively.
Kristen D. Scott is a nominee of the Pushcart prize in poetry for five works from her 2014 collection OPIATE. She is an award-winning essayist for her work on Federico Garcia Lorca and his books the Divan del Tamarit, Poet of the Deep Song, and essay, "The Duende."
She has published in several Anthologies, newspapers, and ezines, including the San Diego Poetry Annuals, Nomos Review, Perigee, Alesbuyia, and published two poetry collection from Garden Oak Press; LIAISONS (2012) and OPIATE (2014). She has also been translated into Arabic, Albanian Turkish and Sanskrit.
Scott is currently the Editor-In-Chief, founder, and web designer of KNOT Magazine, holds a MFA in Creative Writing, MA in English Literature, and progressing with her Ph.D in Global Education and Comparative Literataure.
She resides on the Riviera in Türkiye.