- Paperback: 83 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 1st edition (7 Nov. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141010274
- ISBN-13: 978-0141010274
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 0.7 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 454,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Carrying the Elephant: A Memoir of Love and Loss Paperback – 7 Nov 2002
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More About the Author
About the Author
Michael Rosen was born and brought up in north London. Since the early 70s he has made his living from writing, performing and broadcasting. He is a regular on Radio 4 and the World Service. He has won numerous awards both for his broadcasting and for his children's poetry. He lives in Hackney.
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Top Customer Reviews
Only around twenty of the pieces - embedded at the heart of the collection - deal directly with Rosen's son's sudden death from meningitis at the age of eighteen, but the pain and shock of that devastating event seem to spread outwards through the whole collection. Or maybe that's just how it seemed to me. I bought this book when I was desperately struggling with a very similar loss, frantically grabbing at poetry to distill feelings that prose somehow couldn't touch, feeling able to read half a page on a good day, when a whole book was impossible.
What Rosen does is to capture the unpredictable and the unacceptable - the feelings you probably wouldn't know about if you haven't been there, and the ones you'd probably hesitate to voice if you have. This is immensely liberating. Rosen is particularly good on conveying the inability to do normal things or think normal thoughts, and the even more frightening inability to know what you think or what you feel. And while that's happening, you've got other people's reactions to deal with somehow. Rosen gets it spot on with a deadpan account of a perfectly decent person getting it horribly wrong - the neighbour who nervously comments "Rather you than me" before going on to mention the football. Rosen follows this up with someone probably a lot closer to him getting it in the neck with the angry "Don't tell me that I mourn too much". Yes, that feeling sounds familiar. So does the loneliness and bewilderment of "I can't answer your question 'what can I say?Read more ›
The poems in Carrying the Elephant are the same thing - significant fragments and pieces from his life that tell you a lot about him and his family.
They all feel quite dark but the most important ones are those in the middle of the book that deal with the unexpected death of his 18-year-old son from meningitis. These include the angry "don't tell me how to mourn" poem which is an exact replication of the anger felt at an unexplainable and unexpected death and a lot of other poems dealing with the deep deep grief he felt.
This is clever, modern poetry that reads more like prose than poems but it works well in capturing the honesty of Rosen's feelings and emotions expressed here. Overly flowerly and dense wordy poetry would detract from the thoughts and feelings that he has distilled down to the bare elements.
Worth reading if you're grieving or if someone close to you is as it lays out the confusion, anger and other emotions of grief in a simple way that's easier to understand.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Michael Rosen beautifully describes many of life's travails, including the sudden death of his son. A lovely and moving book.Published 15 months ago by Paul Jackson