2015-07-25 / News

Works of Poetry Convey ‘Journeys,’ Says Lenfestey

By Madeline Ciak

Poetry is more than a string of stanzas, sonnets, and similes; it is an effective form of storytelling because of the rhythms, sounds, and overall lyrical qualities of the language that is used to construct a meaningful message, says author Jim Lenfestey. More importantly, prose poetry has the ability to incorporate symbolism, metaphors, and hyperboles into a story without having to break it up into verses.

That, he says, is how he was able to best convey his internal and external journeys in his book, “Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain,” which he will present at the Mackinac Island Public Library Friday, July 31, at 4 p.m. as a part of the library’s Summer Author Series.

Mr. Lenfestey’s book is unique not only because the entire book is written in prose poetry, but because it is written about the journey that his love of poetry led him on during his trip to China to learn more about an ancient Chinese poet called Han-shan and to find the Cold Mountain cave. Not only was he able to describe the memories that he made there and the places that he visited through the lens of modern Chinese culture, he presented these topics in a poetic format.

“The external journey to China showed me that there is much to be learned about their landscape and language, but I was lucky enough to experience an internal journey while in China because I got to delve into the works of Chinese poets as well as my own work,” said Mr. Lenfestey.

He said he views poetry as a relentless process of gathering facts internally, and that adds to a better understanding of communication and language overall.

“Poetry feeds into one’s curiosity and is the very music of language itself, but a poem’s rhythm is what allows language to be remembered,” said Mr. Lenfestey.

The Mackinac Island Public Library Summer Author Series will end Friday, August 21 with Nevada Barr’s presentation of her novel, “Destroyer Angel,” which is the latest installment in the Anna Pigeon mystery series.

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