Close your eyes dear reader. Take a deep breath. In…and out…repeat a few more times until you feel a sense of calm. Let your mind gently drift you to a place filled with laughter, love and life. Birds are singing, the wind is dancing with your hair and the grass is soft to lie on. You are surrounded by history and become rooted in its story. You never want to leave. Welcome to Stanley Park.
Today on the blog I am reviewing Stanley Park (Published 23 Aug 2019) By Sapphira Olson published by BLAM! Productions. A big thank you to the author for my copy to review, always appreciated.
About The Author
Sapphira Olson is the pen name of author, illustrator and poet Sapphira Olson French. Born in Cornwall she now lives in Luton. Faithfully LGBT, she is a trans woman with six published novels, including An Android Awakes, Fictional Alignment and The Dandelion Trilogy.
Nominated for the Galaxy British Book Awards and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, she has been a senior editor of The View From Here literary magazine and has interviewed authors such as Julian Barnes, Iain Banks and Markus Zusak.
She also has a short story collection published by Elsewhen Press called Parables which was born out of her experiences and deconstruction and ‘escape’ from a strict evangelical church.
Stanley Park was her first collection of poetry, which was a surprise to her, The Girl in the Garden even more so.
When not writing she loves spending time in the countryside and enjoys watching Audrey Hepburn movies and listening to Dido and Caravan Palace.
A sorrow has taken root in my heart,
and although it hurts every day
I know there is a place where we laugh together
under an open sky.
To that sanctuary, I am travelling.
This is that story.
Stanley Park is a collection of 35 poems from Parables author Sapphira Olson charting the story of two lovers through history as they are separated and then reunited all within the island of Stanley Park in Vancouver. Olson weaves a beautiful and poignant narrative through a progression of emotional poetry taking the reader on a journey of hope driven by love.
Incorporating poems inspired by Squamish Nation history & legends, the collection explores themes of immortality, love, loss, the nature of consciousness and culture.
Stanley Park itself is a beautiful 405-hectare public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and is mostly surrounded by waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. The park has a long history and was one of the first areas to be explored in the city.
I have been lucky enough to have visited the wonder that is Stanley Park in Canada. A gorgeous country that I hope I have the pleasure of visiting again in the future. If you ever get the chance dear reader, go! You won’t be disappointed.
As soon as I opened this book I was transported back to the mystical totem poles and towering trees that made me feel safe, at home. Upon beginning our adventure Olson provides the reader with a numbered map to show the location of each poem. I liked this little detail as you feel connected to such an enchanting place and could fully immerse in the breathtaking surroundings.
Olson has created a scrap-book of memories of a loving relationship. It is bursting with love, hope, magic and loss. Olson’s way with words paints scenes of the first time they held hands while watching the Olympic Flame to the emotions you feel when you experience that first kiss. You feel honoured to witness such a personal experience and find your cheeks hurt from smiling as you cheer them on.
A poetry in starlight, awkward motion towards a first kiss.
The world carries on around you as you come to a stop.
A silence, in which you can hear a pin drop.
Extract from Awkward Motion Towards A First Kiss
I felt nature blossom all around me as I read The Hollow Tree. I joined in the winter dances giving thanks to Sagalie Tyee and got caught up in the love that two young female trees had created by becoming one. When the tree sadly dies you feel all the colour and joy wash away reminding you that nothing lasts forever. Olson based this poem on a story her love told her one dreamy afternoon while walking upon the seawall. It’s bewitching as you wish to hear more. Olson creates an enriching atmosphere of dreams and untold tales that you could quite happily listen to all day in the warm gaze of the sun. This poem evokes a sense of tranquility and I adored it.
Birds sang in their shelter,
fruit blossomed and grew upon the branches.
Every animal that sought the shade of the tree fell in love
and knew only a profound joy in their heart.
Extract from The Hollow Tree
Stanley Park is overflowing with history and memories. Olson respects this in her poetry and shows the reader how we should be strong, fighting for what we love while continuing to grow. That even in the face of death a tree created new life. It gives you hope and that comforting hug telling you to never give up. Take courage from those that came before you and make your own history. Always keep reaching for the stars.
When it was young the French fought the
English at the Battle of Agincourt.
On this day the Great Fire of 1886 destroyed
everything up to Beaver Lake.
This tree survived, and instead of death
the heat of the fire released seeds,
bringing new growth.
Extract from Shinrin-Yoku
The epilogue at the back is from the author to her love and is beautiful. You can’t help but marvel at the respect and devotion she shows her. It melts your heart as this show of kindness is often so very few and far between to find in today’s world. Olson reminds you that among the bad and pain there is still good and love. And that’s always worth getting burned for.
I give Stanley Park By Sapphira Olson a Five out of Five paw rating.
I loved every second of my trip to Stanley Park. I was instantly whisked back and didn’t want to leave. Olson writes passionate poetry that ignites that fire we all have inside of us. The emotion is rich, warm and gives you hope. Hope that one day you will experience a love so strong that it will be whispered among the trees and leaves in centuries to come.
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