P026 Squall, Part 1
In Mary Shelley's Tempest, his introduction to Squall, Poems in the Voice of Mary Shelley, George Elliott Clarke wrote:
I've known Chad Norman for thirty years. He's written fine work before, but Squall is one of his best....Certainly Mary Woolstonecraft Shelley is rendered brilliantly herein, both as the creator of a masterpiece, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818) and as the critical curator of a spouse-maker's legacy.
Mary Shelley's husband, Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, drowned at age 29 in the Ligurian sea, off the coast of the town of Viareggio, Italy, when his sailing boat capsized in a storm. The Shelleys' relationship was passionate, scandalous, haunted by tragedy; a union of artists as well as a marriage.
Percy Shelley’s body, recovered after days in the ocean, was burned on the beach by public order for health reasons. Women weren’t allowed to attend such occasions but Mary was given and preserved Percy’s charred heart in a box.
It is this which imaginatively locates each of the poems in Squall; on that beach, with that box, as Chad Norman re-imagines Mary Shelley reviewing her marriage in light of this final tragedy.
Clarke also comments in Mary Shelley's Tempest,
we witness Mary Shelley in communion with her own soul...
Squall, PART 2: Poems in the Voice of Mary Shelley, Airing February 07, 2022
My zoom conversation with Chad Norman about writing Squall was long and fascinating. We couldn't seem to stop talking. I have broken this conversation into three parts: two episodes about the writing of the book and a separate section (to be put on Writer's Radio website as an additional podcast) about the trials of launching his book during a pandemic.
The first episode explores the germination of Squall and the process of writing it. The second episode focuses Chad's experience as a man attempting to plumb the psyche of a woman he greatly admires who has been dead for over two hundred years. Chad locates this investigation squarely within the wave of the women's liberation movement of which Mary Shelley's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was a forerunner.
Squall is beautifully illustrated with black-and-white line drawings by Judith S. Bauer of Parrsboro Nova Scotia.
Published by Guernica Editions as part of their Essential Poets Series, Squall may be ordered from the publisher or your favourite bookstore or online. It is not available as an e-book.
If you are intrigued to delve into the writing of Mary Shelley both Kindle and Apple Books have inexpensive editions of the Collected Works and various compilations are available in print editions.
Poems in the Voice of Mary Shelley
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