There are major and semi-major poets today whose poems are so tedious and pretentious that they can induce a rageful narcolepsy in the reader. Surely you know what I’m talking about – that horrid self-satisfied voice, that insufferable presumption to tell me something dreary or personal, that blatheration masquerading as existential profundity. Editors who publish that kind of thing should stop.
And then there are poets whose work quietly astounds. It possesses a quality of subdued wonderment about phenomena and about the invisible that haunts from behind appearances. Their poems are more implicit question than odious preachment or tiresome diary. I also notice a more pronounced sensitivity to the contours and shadings of language in these other, different poets. Their poems refresh the reader with atmospheres of poise, depth, and ambivalent beauty. Poets like Barbara Maat.
Here is one of her poems, untitled:
rivers of dark sky
where the rusting stars bathe
in the abyss, the dragon breath of da’at
teased from an apple seed
An impression conveyed. A suggestion offered. Words lithely incantatory. In the right hands, the natural can go surreal and mystical. In the right hands, four lines can open you onto a paradox as symbolic, true, and tragically beautiful as a resonant night dream.
Posted by Tim Buck