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The Departure by Chris Emery
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The Departure

by Chris Emery

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Recently added bysafari45, parrishlantern, mlindner

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I'm going to steal a quote by another fabulous poet, as my link into this book. George Szirtes, states on the back cover that the poems in this collection:

“ are like highly compressed short stories that we enter at high speed. Once in, the place is full of vivid detail keeping our head turning.”

I’ve taken this to mean that Chris Emery drops you right into his poems/world, and once in you have very little chance to orientate yourself before being assaulted by the next image or poem; voices and fragments of lives hurtle past you leaving behind ghosts on the retina, neurons fired and blipping beyond the moment. Again taking Szirtes idea of “compressed stories” I recently wrote a post on a microfiction collection, and stated that I wasn't sure where the difference between prose poetry and microfiction lie and that “like prose poetry, microfiction appears to be loose, possibly random paragraphs and to use everyday language, although it is heightened, making every word placed - placed with a specific purpose - as if it were a puzzle & could have only been placed there, would only fit there.” , this description seems to fit Chris’s poetry and even though he’s far to adventurous to remain in one form when he could be exploring Sonnets, Couplets, Haiku’s or free verse, I think the description an apt one.

On leaving Wale Obelisk (for Jen).

Did we shuck our suits that leaf-dense noon?
Leave serious careers in lemon light,
the high clouds, early swallows, the day moon
weakened, nothing farmed, nothing tight

above the summer marriage of grasses,
and all that luscious time receding in
the corporate years’ climbing excesses,
just a vacancy before the children?

We made a kind of love pledge there. It leaves you
in chromatic episodes like this
doesn't it? Not quite nostalgia but who
could have imagined ageing like this?

We had climbed up to lie on the piled hay,
the tow-coloured earth all nice and neat,
what with everything that’s come our way
we’re still breathing in that smashed-up wheat

On researching for this post, I read that this poet’s work is characterised by a dystopian vision of the world, having read only this and Dr Mephisto, I can say there is an element of that, but if Chris paints the world as a dystopian, he paints it with a humour that cuts giant swathes through the darkness, highlighting the dissonance in modern living and with a language that makes me smile, makes me laugh, then makes me want to read again. ( )
  parrishlantern | Jan 11, 2013 |
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