Monday 1 May 2023

Michael Edwards, "Another Art of Poetry and Doorstones"


Michael Edwards, an Honorary Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge though living in France, is a poet in both English and French, and the first Briton elected to the Académie française.

About Another Art of Poetry and Doorstones, by Michael Edwards

Another Art of Poetry and Doorstones brings together two long poem sequences which are intimately related. Another is at once modest – this is yet another ars poetica after so many others – and not modest at all. Its art of poetry proceeds not as a continuous argument but as a series of poems on all manner of subjects drawn from the poet’s experience which also throw light on poetry; it seeks a new poetics by seeing poetry as the renaming of a world fallen from Eden and as the glimpsing of another world, the Biblical “new heavens” and “new earth.” Doorstones draws on the same poetics, each poem being a threshold to another world or the world as other. Written in three distinct locations: Wivenhoe, a fishing village in Essex, Paris, and Burgundy, both sequences wonder at the revelation of each moment, hum with metaphors and similes, advance through rapid shifts of tone and, as in the previous volume, At the Brasserie Lipp, explore anew the resources of English.

You can read more about Another Art of Poetry and Doorstones on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read two sample poems from the collection. 

From Another Art of Poetry and Doorstones

The Dark Stormlight

The dark stormlight cast by the eclipse
blackens ground-ivy and clover, fills
the thickets with another world and sinks

unknown hues in the silent stream,
and must be changing cities to unreal
or more than real

pictures of cities dead or about
to rise from the dead as the earth-wide cloud
slowly vanishes and the sun comes out

new, like a bridegroom from his chamber.
Poetry sheds, at its best, the same
strange light as the world by imitation.

Himmliche Ruhe

Himmliche Ruhe. Silent mandarin
Ducks on the Lake and gliding widgeon play
Their part in the water’s almost pictured peace.
Green of the trees and islands, blue of the sky
Inverted, hardly stirring, here. You found,
Mother, each time you’d sit with me and watch,
In Kew’s familiar Garden, time stand still,
That other world you knew had to be there.
This calming and awaking of the soul
Wherever waters sleep or quietly live
Is usual, everyone it seems has known
This common place. Rest is a foreign country,
With infinite and open borders just
Within or out of reach. A secret kingdom
Continually appearing, near yet far,
Like sleep, or death. You knew this without knowing.
Be resting in the only peace there is. 

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