Award-winning poet Alison Stone draws from the tarot in her latest collection. These 78 poems range from the archetypal (The Fool, The Magician, etc.) to the everyday situations of love, work, ideas, and conflicts that make up our lives. Mythical figures from past and present appear—Prometheus and Persephone represent court cards, as do Lou Reed and Steve Jobs. By turns witty and heartbreaking, this book goes down easily enough to be devoured in one sitting yet reveals greater depths with each subsequent reading. Stone's accessible lyrics move and entertain us with the struggles and joys of what it means to be human.
Ordinary Magic, Alison Stone's wonderfully titled book of Tarot-themed poetry, returns the deck to its creative roots, for the cards were used to inspire poetry long before they were drafted as a tool for fortune-telling. Her cards on the Major Arcana, the 22 trump cards, follow closely the themes and imagery of the well-known Rider deck, while zeroing in on original details that make these symbolic pictures both personal and fresh. But it's in the fifty-six suit cards, the so-called Minor Arcana, that Stone really shines. Largely abandoning the "official" imagery of the scenes (which are, in fact, only 100 years old), Stone allows the cards to suggest ideas, memories, and personal stories for poems that are immediate and alive.
Prior praise for Stone's poetry:
Stone is not a 'literary' poet (there are enough of them). Her text does not depend on other texts. She is interested in a woman's truth, and has something hard won (but won) to give her readers. This is strong poetry.
Stone understands that poems, as Robert Lowell encouraged, must be events in themselves and not merely records of events. Whether psychological or philosophical, or advancing the intensity of raw emotion, Stone's poems are urgent and dramatic, put themselves and by extension the reader, at risk.
Stone offers lean and sparkling poetry that invites us to join with it—poems that are, in their way, multi-faceted spaces to explore, discovering what we may, and grafting what we bring.
Gorgeous work—not only accessible, but tight as can be. I must say that Alison Stone's book is the first one I've read cover to cover within the first day of reception. Remarkable work.
Reading Alison Stone's searing collection...feels like childbirth—anesthesia optional—leaving one bloodied and drained, joy tinged with wince, and after a great hue and cry, blessed relief and reward.
—Cindy Hochman, The Pedestal