BOOK REVIEW
 


162 pages,  $15 U.S.
ISBN 978-0-9812744-9-2
Cover Images by Joe Petolino

CLICK YOUR COUNTRY NAME TO ORDER THIS BOOK:

CANADA
, UNITED STATES, EUROPE, JAPAN




"All four poets share an interest in the fragmentary, the elusive, the problematical--not a surprising thing for twenty-first-century poets!--but all four also look in their dreams for some (problematical!) vision of beauty. It seems an old-fashioned enterprise to be looking for beauty--something out of the 19th century--yet it is precisely a sense of beauty that is missing from so much current work. What beauty--not what puzzle, not what ironic stance, not what deconstruction, not what politics, not what 'languagae-oriented consciousness,' not what 'poetics' ("Poetics is to poetry what medicine is to the body," remarked Robert Duncan)--is possible for us, writers "post" so much we can scarcely discover to what we are "pre"?
                                                                                                                   
Ahadada Reader 3
                                                                                                                                           Introduction by Jack Foley

 

Ahadada Reader 3

This lavish reader, a collection of works by Jack Foley, Melanie Lynn Moro-Huber, Mary-Marcia Casoly and Katherine Hastings, will provided readers of poetry, and poetry criticism, hours of enjoyment. Jack Foley introduces each writer, including himself, with an introduction that serves not only as a preliminary discourse providing explanatory comments and information about the poets and their work, but also as unique commentary on contemporary poetry.

This is a collection of some of the greatest works, to date,  of each of these four writers.

Mary Marcia Casoly's included collection is titled, "Australia Dreaming," presumably a reference to the indigenous Australian culture and its concept of "The Dreaming," which involves ancestral spirits visiting the earth in human form, defying dimensions of time and space.  These indigenous people  enter a different reality during their ritual dreaming ceremonies. 

Mary Marcia's  work provides various states of consciousness... "Mingling" dreams with reality, joining dreams with fiction, altering reality by means of playful and unusual juxtapositions.  Hers is serious poetry that does not take itself serious.  In fact, a sense of humor is quite apparent in many of her poems. .

Here is an excerpt from part one of her poem, "In Full Metal Moonlight"

I   Invitation to Breakfast

Open come soon again welcome
Hurry hand over and check
Buddy me up to the bagel
Find yourself chai and dry
Cappuccino stacked bacon bits
Bosom of croissant
Flapjacks between flakes
Exquisite music buttered tongue
Toast on both sides jamming
Healing chamomile tea on the menu
Elemental sky scramble quiche
At sunset, capice?  (26)

Casoly plays with words, their sounds and meanings, delighting the reader with unexpected, unusual combinations of words and concepts, such as this excerpt from her poem, "Australia Dreaming," with beautiful language and images:

 
  skyward, nobody ever tells you where the aboriginal lagoon
of never-never is imprisoned, except
a huge boab tree, or an emu egg, or maybe nothing at all, except
the great red rock, the dark
heart pulsing, emanating into each spoonbill lagoon,
into thick mosquito infested scrathes
of tropical mangrove, into each seedy sandbar crocodile dive,
and under every tessellated brick


Casoly has no one definable style, some pieces are complex, some playful, some of her poems, such as "Cottages"  are entirely direct and concrete:

 
  Cottages

What I'm telling you is I wouldn't' mind
if I could, I'd lease the cottage next door or down the block
I'd like to observe your windows
the cycles of light slight movement of curtain or wooden blinds
you stepping out quick for the paper
to be there to say c'mon lets walk around the block
or sudden playful conservations  (35)


Evidently,  Mary-Marcia Casoly is not only a prolific poet, but a poet who explores all forms, which inevitably leads her into new dimensions.


Katherine Hastings
Also included in this reader, Katherine Hastings offers the reader the Irish traditions of folk and fairy tales, uniquely combining them with concrete, real world images and situations, that stir social awareness.  Her poems move smoothly from the realm of fantasy to reality and this combination moves the reader toward a rare type of social consciousness, one that is both spiritual and real.

Take for example these two excerpts from her "Notes from the City of Fog and Light (an excerpt)"

 
  1.

San Francisco, 1958, a front stoop. A tow-headed girl-child safer
outdoors than in. Walking down the street, a black man tips a brown bag
to his lips, walks through vapor until he's right there. The girl-child is
pulled into the world, feels love, unexplained, looks up and smiles. She's
not invisible. He tells her she's beautiful, reaches into his pocket, give
her a nickel, goes his way.

 

5. (excerpted from this section)
A child splashes there
Bay water on skin nurses, feeds
her wild limbs

 

Melanie Lynn Moro_Huber

Melanie Lynn Moro-Huber's section in the book, titled "the Memory of Paper," offers poems that are what Jack Foley calls, "enigmatic, problematical, fascinating poems ...the product of a consciousness which is determined to remain hidden, even among it carefully-placed revelations." 

But, I would disagree with this evaluation.  Her poems are not "private" they are primaeval, something about them reduces the reader to a common Jungian denominator, takes the reader into the archaic realm, into the universal.

Take for example, the following excerpt:

 
  I hear there is a darkly carved cavern
where winged fossils fill the walls
and oscillations of the night sky
do not matter if you enter here.
I followed dusk's trail to the uneven tracks
of dawn, but there was no one there, no cave,
just a crystal surface of scales
above an empty arroyo.
sometimes it is too much to take in.

 


Jack Foley

Finally, Jack Foley's collection, titled "A Disordered City" contains some of his most widely known and appreciated works, including "from Sweeney Adrift," and his choral poems like "Django" and "Fragments from Fragments: A Disordered City...nearing70," one of the many poems Jack has written about his passing through various decades of life.  He recites his chorus poems with his wife, Adelle.  Here is a fragment from  "Fragments: A disordered City .. nearing 70," which exemplifies his enjoyable play with nonsense language:

 
  the chair has creaked, me lass! and I chewed all the liver. . .
Phooey!

learn how to read, and you will learn how to read poetry. But everything, everything you encounter insists that you not know how to read.

     Yhsy duvh udrd dhoulf hsbr rcidyrf eiyh duvh trginrmrny

 


In sum, this collection provides long and quiet hours of enjoyable reading, filled with humor, multidimensional roaming, encounters with Irish fairies, subtle calls to social responsibility, a segue into the land of our ancestors, and plain and simple nonsense.  Enjoy it!  This is a rare and wonderful treat.





Mary Ann Sullivan
September 21, 2011