Intertextual – not yet a poem
( ... notes towards ... )
OK, finally finished: review of Stephen Edgar’s Exhibits of the Sun.
It’s long overdue and over-long: the editor will have my reviewer’s balls for breakfast.
I’ve had the collection for a year; read the poems five or six times:
impressive, glittering, seductive, subtle and grand – poems to think by.
Flickering anaglyphs … saccade. Microscopic macrocosms.
The virtuosity and impotence of the beholder.
Invoke Sarah Howe: ‘the sinople eye of a butterfly wing’.
Insert Fuyue Anzai’s 1929 famous one-line modernist poem:
‘A single butterfly crosses the Tartar Strait.’
A haiku is a one line poem with line breaks.
I can’t say Edgar is one of the great conservative poets in modern Australia.
But there are palpable echoes of Coleridge, Milton, Slessor and Stewart
as well as allusions to Proust, Sibelius, Morandi, Magritte, Verdi.
Occasionally the verse is grandiloquent, frequently ekphrastic.
Brilliant, unusual conceits – a modern metaphysical.
Poet as ‘ibis trying to prize apart a tub of salad’ or the abashed
Angel of History – only able to ‘record, not to restore, the toll’.
Cascading fragments – ‘Kubla Khan’ on mescalin.