Thursday, August 9, 2012

the poetry of Gillian Prew

I would like to bring a poet to your attention. But doing so involves a problem, a paradox, a referential entanglement -- I must first write something about myself.

I am drawn to poetry that is artistic. Poetry in which a deep aesthetic awareness is implicit. That kind of poetry is almost impossible to find. Occasionally, I will come across a poem containing a line, an image, a moment that is striking, that is artistic. Usually though, such an instance is situated in a poem that is, overall,  dull or lacking cohesion and coherency.

That's why the poems of Gillian Prew are important things to me. They are many notches up the continuum. For me, they are much better than most of the stuff published by big-time poets in big-time journals. Not only are the poems composed with subtle artistic flair; they also hold together, make a worthwhile impression. If a poem doesn't create an aesthetic mood, then I will leave that poem for others to appreciate. I'm drawn to poems that are as moody and strange as the beautiful torment of a dream, or the caressing ennui of a graveyard. And I like poems that take poetry seriously, that echo in a context of the masters who have gone before. So I like Prew's poetry.

Okay, enough about me.

Gillian Prew writes with images. These are not artificial or boring constructs. They have evolved organically in consciousness and exist via a deft artistic congruence of word to vision.

And she writes with images that take the reader into nature. You don't feel that you are strangulated inside some narrow garret. You are out there, somewhere, amid textures of limb, wing, grass, and wind. The forms of nature moving in and out of her images become artistically imbued by virtue of talent and sensibilty. So these natural images are not descriptively banal, not just stage-setting props. They vibrate with the supple resonance of hidden metaphor. As such, the worlds of her poems are places that involve something faintly surreal.

Thematically, many of her poems are concerned with somber experience. Yet somehow this dark quality -- because of quality -- brings the reader into a kind of paradoxical light or lightness of being. In other words, there can be a form of beauty and frisson even in regions of shadow. A reader can float on the art and be enriched, not depressed.

To experience poems that are aesthetic happenings like these is a rare thing. Prew's haunting existential lyricism is unique.

I haven't asked permission to put one of Gillian's poems here on my blog. So I'll just provide a link to a page containing links to her published poems.

Gillian Prew poems

I'll conclude with something else about me: damn, I wish I could write poems that go as deeply into the real and into the surreal as do those of Gillian Prew.

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