Dreaming My Animal Selves by Héléne Cardona


This is a story of flight,/ a story of roots,/ a story of grace

Héléne Cardona is a multitalented and highly-respected writer whose skills include acting, singing, dancing, teaching, and producing.  Did I also mention that she speaks several languages?  So it will probably come as no surprise that her poetry is as brilliant and dazzling as her resume would suggest.  Each poem is printed in both French and English (translated by Cardona, herself), and while it is a slim collection, the poems are rich in myth, imagination, biology, art, language, and literature.

An exploration of spirit rather than body, Dreaming My Animal Selves thrums across an everyday wilderness that transcends time, geography, history, and the physical self.  Through “beings disguised” Cardona explores the more ethereal qualities of existence – of what’s between the enigma of life, death, wake, and sleep.  Dreaming My Animal Selves takes readers to some sort of limbo where reality and fantasy combine to create a brief yet precise overalp of clarity.  Cardona writes:

in dreaming/ lies the healing of the earth.  In dreaming/ we travel to a place where all is forgiven./ In dreaming is the Divine created.

Yet we also see the “synapses of chaos” in the “corridors of mind.”  Where the dreams invite redemption and fantasy is also the potential for pain and truth.  Even so, Cardona recognizes that “experience is cellular” – under the influence of the body but framed by the mind.  For me, it’s an extraordinary example of our intense, physical response to emotion and perception, whether it be realized or subconscious.  The body is a tightly-packed polarization of freedom and restriction, and Cardona writes: “The ultimate aim is harmony with oneself.”  This is what Dreaming My Animal Selves ultimately boils down to – a yearning for harmony and peace in a place of shape-shifting duality.

sdreaming_my_animal_selves ★★★★½
Dreaming My Animal Selves
By Héléne Cardona
Salmon Poetry
80 Pages
ISBN 9781908836397

About Karli Cude

Karli Cude, previous moderator of Hooked Bookworm, is an avid reader and former bookseller. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in English Literature in 2010 and completed a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences in 2013.