Saturday, April 13, 2013



There were books for sale, thanks to Catherine Fisher and Otter Books

Figs and truffles for the most discerning tastes
There was a happy audience 

And a happy poet
 when Nelson poet, Susan Andrews Grace launched her newest collection of poetry, Philosopher at the Skin Edge of Being at Oxygen Art Centre last night. This is the poet's fifth book and it is published by Signature Editions.

Around forty people came out to hear Susan read from her new collection which is housed is a slim, graceful volume that mimics the poetry inside. 

 The book is essentially a long poem, written in four parts—the four seasons. Jai-li, who Susan describes in the introduction as a "sort of everywoman" and whose name means "beauty" in Mandarin, is the philosopher feminine thread that shapes the poems. I'm not going to attempt to do any further analysis needs to spend time with the words, for lovely as they are—

     III / 10

     A snail shell stripped to beauty
     on the school house stairs
     curves into the mind of Jai-li.
     The snail shrugged his house,
     flesh no longer luminous,
     the hard excess of his life
     remains absolutely without
     coral space as testament
     to emptiness.
     Mass stays
     shell of snail idea.

—they are always deeper than they may first appear. 
I could, for example, spend a great deal of time contemplating and unraveling this:

     III / 3

     A philosopher's drunkenness,
     heavy with nectar—
                   like a bee's contentment in the garden,
                   crumpled energy a jumble of generosity,
                   and pollen insurance

     redeems wastrel ways. 

or, finally (for now) this:

     I / 7

     A baby swims out of darkest sea
     a cloud-kissed tiger tamer,
     safe from eagles.

Susan Andrews Grace makes me think, and for that I'm eternally grateful.



George Payerle said...

A graceful and gracious post, as the poems are. Thank you.

Linda Crosfield said...

And thank YOU for reading and chiming in, George!