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Michelle’s Pick of the Week: Rose Quartz by Sasha LaPointe

Getting lost amidst the trees of Sasha LaPointe’s poetry collection is a happy experience. We are met with crystals and tarot cards, fables, and fairy tales. The cover itself evokes a scene of an alter amidst pines, with candles, stones, roses, and feathers.

LaPointe’s autobiographical memories are laced with imagery and weaved into stories spaced over the span of the book. Rose Quartz has four sections. Black pages label each section to set the mood with a stone and a tarot card. The sections are black obsidian paired with the ace of wands, opal with the eight of swords, rose quartz with the lovers, and moonstone with the high priestess.

Readers will recognize use of characters from The Brothers Grimm, Hansel, Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White. The classic tales and characters here may look slightly different from those the reader remembers. The symbolism of these characters, stories, and fables gives the poems their whimsical edge. The collection includes tales of break-ups and love and LaPointe’s transition from childhood to adulthood.

LaPointe is a member of two Native American tribes and lives in the Pacific Northwest. Themes of identity appear throughout the work. Poems analyze the meaning of LaPointe’s American identity and European ancestry crossed with her Native American heritage.

In “Teach Me to Say I Love You” LaPointe writes,

“In your language

I have forgotten how to speak

something caught in my throat

a fish bone splintering me

into something quiet

muted and starlike”.

After this stanza, LaPointe goes on to illustrate a new word in her grandmother’s native language every few stanzas.

In “Pony” LaPointe as a child saves money to buy a pony in response to Hollywood representations of Indians and a wish to ‘be Indian’ by matching them. These themes are developed further in poems like “What We Should Have Had”, “Half Moon Bay”, and “In the Poison Garden”.

In the title poem, “Rose Quartz” a Coney Island fortunist predicts a broken heart. This story appears to begin with poems such as “The Canoe my Grandmother Gave Me” and “Blue”.

Appealing to domesticity in “Newlywed”, LaPointe writes,

“I wanted to make you a blueberry pie

this afternoon all sugar and rolling pins

all fingerprints and flour I’ve heard that’s

what wives do.”

This narrative concludes in the last section with “Redwoods” and “Rose Quartz II”.

Readers of new age fairy tales or Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey will enjoy immersing themselves in these coming-of-age poems in the Pacific Northwest Forest.

Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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