Friday, January 6, 2012
GUY BENNETT'S SELF-EVIDENT POEMS
Time to for a poetry break. Nothing makes me feel more optimistic and grateful and even joyful than a unique work of art, or as unique as anything created by humans can get. I receive all kinds of books in the mail these days, and have on and off for decades. And I'm always delighted to be surprised by something unexpected.
That's Guy Bennet's SELF-EVIDENT POEMS. A Christmas gift from the great poet and writer and songwriter and Irish musician Terence Winch, I read it in only a few sittings. But even before I opened it I dug it. It's from Otis Books/Seismicity Editions and has the plain design their known for, but this one is especially appealing from the cover and text paper to the typeface.
It immediately became a book I wanted to keep around for a long time just to be able to pick it up and look at it let alone read it. But then there are the poems themselves, all conceived from the same inspiration. Poems that are self evident.
You'd think it would become a gag and grow weary but it doesn't. In fact I anticipated with glee every new poem I read just to see how Bennett was going to ring a new nuance or entirely different perspective out of basically the same device and I was never disappointed. Not easy to say about any collection of anything.
I'm sure it's not for everyone's taste, but it sure is for mine. I'll leave you with a few examples, but don't let them deceive you, the variations Bennett manages to create will surprise you:
This poem is self-contained
It does not require critical commentary
or explanations of any kind
to convey its meaning,
which is self-evident.
It does not exceed a single page,
and is thus appropriate
for publication in magazines
It can be read in a single sitting,
and will not unduly tax the reader or listener
as it neither necessitates nor benefits from
excessive post-reading reflexion.
is particularly concise.