Rikken feels it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact moment one decides to make art their life, but there is still a traceable, cumulative trajectory and the necessity to reflect upon history and past traditions. To define one’s unique art and expression, there comes an inevitable absorption then rejection of established theories that allows the artist to express their unique voice.
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Ecliptical is a masterful book, full of smart details that will challenge and stretch the most dedicated of readers, but also dark, playful, often funny and always fun to read. The book is political and engaged with current affairs and events and very serious in the way it confronts violence, loss, inequities, and a wide array of impending ends, but it never takes itself too seriously.
Nothing But Light teems with characters such as Eve and Gaia, Judy Chicago and Hilma Klint woven into this tapestry of feminine wholeness, a wholeness that embraces rather than excludes. I love the power and playfulness of these poems that center the physical within the context of spiritual questing.
As the title Stronger than Fear suggests, the book wishes to raise spirits for justice rather than fight it out on the streets or the courtrooms, which is where most, but not all, social justice works itself out. It’s a valiant effort to tilt at windmills. (How many times have poets reminded us that poetry does nothing?).
For its imagery, lyricism and thought “Absolute Pine,” a very human poem really, is a fitting conclusion to this collection that is serious and funny, fraught with gloom and light, and good lines in memorable poems about people, places and things. A collection of poems in the distinct voice of a poet at the height of his skills.
Scully’s The Fickle Pendulum is moody, joyous and dedicated to abstraction. It is an artist’s tome, a compendium for illustrating ideas or painting religious psalms and a reader’s banquet. As the title suggests, there is no route to follow in the inside pages because, like life, it is cyclic.
It would be foolish to start this review by saying these are the most beautiful poems I have ever read, but they are beautiful. From the first infinitely delicate poem where on the eve of turning thirteen, in a revelatory Paul of Tarsus moment, Honum discovers an angel of poetry whose ancient “mottled language” she will now speak, through all the book’s poems that look closely at and identify with small creatures, including butterflies, luna moths, hornets, sparrows, spiders, and sorrows, these are beautiful poems.
This is a book about enjoying your life with as much vigour and health as possible by making better lifestyle choice, not about living forever through a rich-person only, ageism that requires collagen injections, placental transfusions or high colonics (even if they are the secret to Keith Richards’ longevity). Of course ageing well is a privilege. Financial security along with access to high quality food makes all the difference.
The richness in Gorton’s creativity is evident in all her poems, but in the second section of the book titled “Tongue” I was fascinated by how the poet takes the reader on trips to the past with narrative poetry that contains vivid images and keeps the reader glue to the page.