project heartbeats and elevation

Project Hearbeats and Elevation

by Cendrine Marrouat
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Reviewed by: Push Nevahda
September 2009


Like any good literary fool (fool because we actually still believe in the transformative powers of good literature), I approached Cendrine Marrouat’s new book of poetry, Project: Heartbeats and Elevation, with caution and reserve. I didn’t know what to expect from a French Canadian poet, who’d once described her poetry as a blueprint for how she lives her life. Yet, with poems like God, Birth, Death, and Where the Heart Goes, Marrouat’s mission of love, peace, and harmony is clear and evident.

Beyond the deep spiritual intent of Marrouat’s work there is a political dimension as well. In the book’s introduction, Marrouat addresses the question of whether or not poetry is a fading art form. “According to many, poetry is on the verge of extinction, doomed to disappear in the miasma of mediocrity. However, those who condemn this art form do not realize how untrue it is. Poetry is not dying. It cannot die. It will not die.” With that statement, Marrouat’s “only purpose is to offer my vision of spirituality and God.”

Marrouat’s poems are pacifist and resistant in their attempts to make us believe in the beauty of life and the necessity of love. Major themes in her work are tolerance, spiritual healing, and, of course, God. The following poem strikes a particularly universal rhythmic chord:

Silence
Privately sings
Yet reaches all spirits,
Conversing in languages
Conscience comprehends and relishes.
Pleasures of the soul are many –
Feel them throbbing within.
They all start in
Silence… 

Marrouat’s  poetry is existentialist, and perhaps counter-cultural  – but not about political protest, cultural identity, or revolutionary fanaticism. Her work is not influenced by Camus, Sartre, or any other French artist. Instead, Marrouat’s work is guided by love and redemption:

But His guiding hand
Strokes and soothes fear and gloom.
Sister moonshine smiles
And Glory opens her arms
Wide to welcome you.

Marrouat’s poetry is tenuous at times, but also strong and powerful.  Readers may find it difficult to believe in the hopeful romanticism, surreal imagery, and spiritual metaphors, but one will find it very hard to resist Marrouat’s optimism. This collection of 62 poems provides a window into a new possibility of love redemption and belief in faith. Project: Heartbeats and Elevation is diffident, inspired, and honest.

What did you like about the book? 
It’s deeply spiritual optimism, and it’s broad universality.

What did you dislike about the book? 
She played the safe-card on many social/global issues, rather than engage them.

What could the author do to improve the book? 
Unlike Marrouat, I believe poetry should aim more towards socio-cultural critiques. I would’ve loved to see more social observations in Marrouat’s work.


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