Sunday, April 03, 2011

Awaiting the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize – Mind Map 2 of 4

I discovered Ms. Twichell’s poetry on the’s website after reading that she would be one of the judges for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize.

It was Ms. Twichell’s poems that actually made me ask: from the hundreds of poetry books that are submitted for the Griffin Prize, what kind of poems would appeal to this particular poet-judge? 

Which made me re-read her poems and attempt to sketch, within the space of a few lines,  a somewhat tenuous mind map.

In her poems, Ms. Twitchell paints a stark universe, an after the fact poetic interior and exterior, struggling to reach both balance and a tipping point in a vision imbued in tempered, stilled and crystalline grief:

"In children, the quality of darkness
changes inside the sleeping mouth,

and the ghost of child-grime--
that infinite smudge of no color--

blows off into the afterlife."

 (The Blade of Nostalgia)

Sadness loses its rawness in Ms. Twichell’s poetry, to become a dense and distilled aura that sets the boundaries of the poetic discourse: a concise manner, akin to aphorism-making, and a scattering of glittering metaphors against a bleak backdrop, which is meant to have an enhancing effect.

"I’ve been wandering
where the cold tracks of language
collapse into cinders, unburnable trash.
Beyond that, all I can see is the remote cold
of meteors before their avalanches of farewell. "

(To the Reader: If You Asked Me)

I read about Ms. Twichell’s experience and interest in zen poetry and hence the possible koan-like atmosphere in her poems – although my suspicion would be that the cause effect relationship works likely in the opposite direction, i.e. a propensity of brevity and memory-cum-stillness may have elicited interest in exploring other approaches to art:

"Our words should cauterize
all wounds to the truth."


Undoubtedly, Ms. Twichell’s poetic art can hardly be summarized in a post of this size.

Hence, I’d like to move on to the next point, which - I cannot emphasize this enough -  represents a personal viewpoint created simply out of sheer enjoyment while waiting for a literary event.

What kind of wining poetry book would we be looking at, based on the above?

Look for a book of poetry:
  •  in which ‘green’ is a key visual component
  • has the viewpoint of a snow covered, dark planet
  •  stretches timid tendrils into experiments in the absurd. 
  • where memory and animals play a role

We stop here before the next post.

1 comment:

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

The poetry paints vivid imagery of what the poet intends to if we were a part of it.
Nice share.

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