Monday, November 8, 2010

Connie Stadler -- poet of depth and beauty

Constance Stadler's current profile picture on Facebook shows her as a girl playing a violin. Her expression is indescribable. Well, I'll try anyway: she is in a moment of depth and beauty. That photo always gets to me. It affects me with a pleasing melancholy.

Facebook is an unusual place. We can form relationships that are important, even when we don't know that much personal detail about someone. I know that Connie has earned a couple PhDs. I think she has traveled a lot. Seen things. Personality-wise, she comes across to me as a warm, quiet, and thoughtful person. And very eloquent in writing. Yes, Facebook allows the formation of slightly shadowed angles, within which something essential and intense might appear.

Connie's poems have appeared to me.

In general, her inexhaustible vocabulary enriches many of those poems. In general, her expansive awareness enables variety of theme. In general, her heart and soul move the lines through passion and many other moods. But I want to focus on one poem here:

I dream, now...

In the forest of blue heron
On the whitest of white nights
The moon clouds pass
As laden caravanserai.
Cedar shadow calligraphy
Communicates what no human can
Cygnets sleep in sepia wash
In fearless surrender.
Darkness and I stroll among these
gardens within myself.
Sip wine, exchange no thoughts.

Copyright 2009, Connie Stadler

I keep coming back to this poem. To me, it is a wondrous thing. It is a gift to world literature.

Sometimes, I'm a bit dense. Is this a dream or a reminiscence? Or a living stroll through scenic intensity? It mostly doesn't matter to me. It seems to have an Asian quality. Or a timeless quality of equivocal location. That's very good. That opens space for the imagination to live in.

I'm unable to describe, really, how this poem affects me. This will have to suffice: it affects me like measures of haunting music.

Technically, these lines are perfect. The rhythm is sparkling and flawless. The line-breaks are exquisitely done. And this poem does what I respond to so well: it conveys meaning and emotion through images. Theme is implicit. The soul's mood is presented via natural analogs, not through maudlin and irritating confession. When the protagonist finally appears in the last three lines, she comes compellingly, intensely present. The last line is marvelous. I'm right there with her, like a transparent comrade.

Yes, what lines! Those beauties breathing with a Poundian cadence. Coming from a depth of numinous poise.

Connie's newest collection of poems is RUMMAGING IN THE ATTIC
Rummaging in the Attic (Differentia Press)

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