Thursday, January 7, 2010

David O'Meara's STORM STILL

Wonderful! And a first book (1999). I'm eager to read his follow-ups.

(From "December, 6 A.M."): "floats/inside this airy hour like smoke inside/a bottle." I submit that only a major talent could have composed those words. Roll "airy hour" around, out loud, very slowly, then note how perfect and transforming "smoke inside/a bottle" becomes. This is when that pedantic ruler-wrapping insistence on "meaning" becomes a stale mantra. Yeah, there's meaning there, but poetry is a sensuous art. The chief meaning is in its sound and rhythm, or, to put it more forcefully, meaning, if any, and if lasting, can only come out of its sound.

I previously mentioned my admiration for O'Meara's "Postcard From Camus" sonnet. Rereading it in this collection increased my pleasure. Camus as Meursault. Yes, stay inside, the pen IS mightier than the sword. Certainly healthier. It's not often I encounter a highly intellectual laugh-out-loud poem.

There are many other strong poems here. I don't have time to do them justice by a longer review right now, and many other people are a decade ahead of me in discovering his worth, anyway. But more on O"Meara when I catch up with his latest works.

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