Odd Remains is the first book of poetry by Ginna Wilkerson, poet,
scholar, teacher, mother and spouse. She has had poems published in many
journals including Gertrude, Currents, Octavius, The Sow’s Ear amongst others.
This Writer experiences Odd Remains as “Sappho sings to the night sky.” As if the healing energy of women could recreate the world beautiful inside the matriarchy, as if anything that was wrong could be arighted. From Beautiful Lies, “Encompassing love would need to begin/ even deeper – in the hearts of trees/ and the tight-knit souls of stones,/ the fingers of unbearably soft babies/ and the silky-slik fur of a newborn tiger”.
The images are powerful from the passion and beauty of the body to nature imagery, perhaps influenced by her study of Medieval Literature, also subtly reflecting the violence of the lost values of the Holy Spirit way/cultural occlusion in N.A. and how this has manifested spaces of loss and brokenness in love. From Beneath the Landscape – “My torso, fetus-curled, perches aloft” and Carried in the Body – “Slow pain/ like a stalker watching/ from the fire-escape/ in a black and white/ film noir and from Weavers – “Hands that warm death/ from the stone,/ warm her own bones,/ cradling herself in the weaving.”
And the use of images in nature; fish, tigers, cats, wolves, lakes, river, ocean, stones, trees, flowers. From Dandelion Dust – “a beckoning patch of yellow/ waited here once – a breath of clover,/ a touch of heather, and/ banks of heady dandelions:/ circles and spirals and avenues/ of small yellow heart-grabbing eyes” and Beautiful Lies – “forming ponds and rivers and lakes/ and finally our unknowable/ ocean depths”. And Purple Moon is one of my favourites from the collection for its sense of sorrow and moonlight:
The hotel hallway swims with water.
Spice-scented guests move ahead.
Immunity is everything when you dare.
She finds herself in a blue-walled
Room. More than two in a bed
means confusion and drowning.
Silken hair tangles with waves
While bodies writhe in sensual
despair. Yes and no are the same.
She climbs from a tilted window,
escaping under a purple moon
shining violet on her fragile skin.
As if the poems are telling a story, inspired by life events, enigmatic that the Reader can only glimpse in painted images. A background thread of theme is perhaps the story of her love affair unfolding. A journal of sights and sounds, a chronicle of the end times.
Desire Is for MK
any flower but a rose
between the leaves of a book
to spread like a quilt
on a honeymoon bed,
to stretch beyond
the absence of gentle fingers –
the naked space pulsing
lingering scent in the pages
A very promising first volume of poetry, looking for more from this Poet. Odd Remains, the passion in the dance by Ginna Wilkerson.
Available from Amazon.ca.
Scarlet, the love poetry of Gina Nemo. As well as being a Poet, she is a writer,
producer and director of television, producer and writer of music, musician and
actress. She began her Hollywood career starring in the 21 Jump Street
television series. This is Gina Nemo’s second book of poetry, and this Writer’s
second Book Review for her.
A good book of poetry is like opening a box of fine chocolates. The sweet, sweet love poetry rolls out like candy and fire in cadence, not unlike a song. In the background Ricky Nelson sings, “a be bop baby” “a be bop baby”. Borrowing from the Beat Poet tradition, the modern Hip Hop genre and American BeBop, the poetry is Romance American style.
“Sometimes I wish I were a bird
So I could swoop down to you
Maybe sit on your window sill
Just sit and sing a song or two
Hoping you will know it is me
In the way I sing that tune
The notes from a long time ago
When we sat under that moon”
As if playing on the theme of lost/conflicted love, the poetry writes, some ancient appeal of a girl to the universe for the perfect love that lasts. The flowing rhyme scheme creating sonance, like sweet offerings, perhaps spinning magic into the perfect lover. As if the world is just beginning to pull itself out of the heartache of too much love lost inside the miasma of the Industrialized Western war/culture machine and into the imagine peace, imagine love of the New Age.
Him and Him Again
“He speaks to me
In some chemical
All I can think of
Is a river of melody
Coming with him
He is inside of me
Him and him again
As we touch
He feels me
In that moment
Where time escapes
As we fall down
To that silky water
Floating in paradise
Of fire and lace
I want him to hide
Then devour me
Again and again
I want no other
His hunger and fire
Him and him again”
I see red
Upon my lips
On my finger tips
On my silk robe
Plates and cups
On my ear lobes
Fire and light
You and me
Put on ice
The poetry wraps the Reader in the familiar of old songs on the radio, beautiful love poems like gathering stars from the sky.
From: What He Does
“What he does
What he knows
He holds on
From: Your Slice
As you wait
In the window
Behind your warm
The celebrated landscape despite hard times, the truth of love lost and heartache is woven into a song of the heart. It is on the surface a deceptively simple style yet the poetry tells the story of love from the streets of New York to the streets of L.A. The red rose of love on Summer winds, that Nemo magic, Scarlet by America's Sweetheart Gina Nemo.
Available @ Melinda Cochrane International and Amazon.ca.
from Hark: a journal is a fantastical Chapbook of poetry, some of the poems have
been published previously in Canadian Literature (Vancouver, British Columbia)
and at www.abovegroundpress.blogspot.com. Rob McLennan is a Canadian Poetry
icon, editor, publisher, poet he operates above/ground press, Chaudiere Books,
ottawater, The Garneau Review, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and
poetics and posts everything poetry on robmclennan.blogspot.com. He is the
celebrated author of more than 20 books of poetry.
This was one of a number of Chapbooks sent to me from above/ground press and of all the tomes, this Writer was captivated. In the Chapbook is an introduction that describes the history of the series of poems. The poems were written when Rob’s relationship with Christine was new, they later married. They wrote postcards and letters to each other in their dance of courtship.
“These were small, secret missives, slipped into luggage, pockets or purses before trips, to be deliberately discovered later. On a Greyhound Bus, I reached into my jacket pocket to find three new postcards; halfway between Ottawa and Toronto, little gifts she’d tucked away without my knowledge. Christine’s notes to me were usually composed on postcards she’d picked up years earlier, and written as though from not only the postcard’s point-of-origin, but that time as well, dated months or even years before we’d met . . . I was fascinated by the idea of letters written from foreign geographical and temporal places, sketched out as short postcard pieces.”
The title of the Chapbook is taken from a comic strip by Kate Beaton, “Hark, a vagrant” and at the time he was reading an anthology “Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France” translated and edited by Norma Cole. Four quotes from this book are included in the Chapbook.
The short poetic prose pieces composed by poet Mclennan are titled with a city and a date, reaching various and esoteric global climes and the dates going as far back as 1422, introducing the idea of landscape and history or the temporal. Each poetry vignette includes elements of the essence of the city, perhaps events in the city at that time and weaves in the idea of romance (global and personal) and its antithesis of war, the push and pull of here not here, home not home and violence, the war economy N.A., as someone who has been on a journey and perhaps is traveling:
In a measure of circling. This is an actual letter. The poem, I should say. Response is so simple. Words point out sediment. Rising moon, the Thames are a-changing. Sooting deep, thick industrial smog. Touch, but more muscular. Victoria, princess. A tower, a namesake. This unknown, hiatus. In what available field. The lives of the past. Leave poets be. Betray to her an abacus.”
The poetry reads like a butterfly entranced by the flame of a candle, as if he is reading the missives from his wife and writing responses weaving, weaving:
When talks, are we writing it. A roughhousing passage. To summarize: elegy, bonfire, speech. King’s Tavern, old hat. She rinses a teacup, sews stitch to the blade. Call out your anguish, astonishment. The currency inherent in blasphemous buildings. Hairsplitting. I am no further thickness. Forever is quite a long time. The body is present.”
Edo, a meaning. Open, her soft voice. Each fold of the city, prefecture. When I claim I am present.. Rails of meaning, undamaged. A blossom, a wonderful scribe. Eaten. This death, microscopic. Sending best wishes. What can you tell me. Illuminate, earth and white powder. The mind meditates, fishing. A castle of wonders. I hold two family portraits. A resident plum.”
In cinematic, the Chapbook could be blown up into a book with coloured postcards of the places in the titles of the poems. As if the Oracle in the time of Spring the poetry is enigmatic and definitive captivating romance in history and within the overconstructed politics of the times. from Hark: a journal, a brilliant read from Rob McLennan.
Available from above/ground press.
Present! is a fascinating truth-telling of love/life N.A. Written by N.W. Lea
who resides in Ottawa, Canada, he has published a book of poetry Everything is
Movies, this is his third published Chapbook.
Present! reveals and revels the love diaspora N.A. Written in a post-modern narrative style, the poetry writes as if coming in on the middle of a story/conversation and also ends as if leaving in the middle of a story/conversation. It is a secret dialogue, telling a story without telling a story and secret wordplay, playing with the use of language.
“we were culture-born
then we were enculturated
then we were inculcated
The theme of love is entangled, as if someone lost in the miasma of where is my love affair heart?
“the swans of hurt
burn circles in the snow”
“I wonder toward
your darker travails
part your mirth
what religious tissue!
estranging beneath the gawking satellites”
“your bunched sun-
dress lays somewhere
and the mixed orchard”
The theme of parted loves, perhaps serial lovers is mixed with the last throws of the industrial society and coming into the cyberspace of the New Age, using surreal images of technology. Perhaps a reflection of the disembodiement of the “sex as service machine” phenomena feeding the economy, breaking with the love Spiritus and the Holy Spirit.
“there is circuitry
behind the basement wall
this I know …..
so we bash the veneer
with our amped up bodies
and start tearing out
the wires and chips
“and all our appliances
grow real hearts”
with elements of activism and truthtelling
“what an honour
it is to be killed
by your government’s
A rich post-modern impression of a love/death story in poetry, some dark soma of the night. In the words and music of the Poet Leonard Cohen, “Everybody knows”. Present! a great read from N.W. Lea.
Available from above/ground press.