Year Published: 1997
I had high expectations coming into this book of poems by Ondaatje. The only other work that I had read from him was The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, which was recommended to me by my independent study teacher my senior year of high school. I thank him so much for introducing me to Ondaatje, because I ate that book up within less than a day, and I knew that if Ondaatje could do that with Billy the Kid then he could do it in all his other works too, including The Cinnamon Peeler.
He did just that.
Unlike Billy the Kid, The Cinnamon Peeler was simply a book of poetry. The former was more of a book of prose and poetry that created a story (what would that be called? I’m not entirely sure). Nonetheless, Ondaatje was able to surprise me yet again with his command of the English language. There were moments where I just had to stop and go “damn”.
Ondaatje uses his words in a way that not only makes you sit back and think for a moment, relating everything he has said to yourself and your life experience, but he also makes you wonder how a person could have came up with a few simple words, put them together, and made them so beautiful. I will share with you guys a stanza from one of the poems that caught my eye and made me revel at Ondaatje’s mastery. It is from his poem, Rainy Night Talk:
Here’s to the long legs
in more and more rain
weaving like a one-sided
over the mountains
His words are gorgeous. My favorite poem out of the rest was Claude Glass, and I highly recommend that anyone interested in poetry to try him out. I don’t know many other people who are familiar with him and if anyone else is familiar with him I ask that you speak up and spread the word!
Even if you are not that much of a poetry person, check him out. He may change your mind about poetry.