BOOK REVIEW

 

cdris/PRIMITIVA*
Victoria, Canada
19 pages


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cdris/PRIMITIVA*


This nineteen page booklet provides a perfectly balanced combination of poetry and images, all of them created by Paulette Turcotte, a well-known Canadian artist and poet. 

Offering a prose poem in 14 stanzas, the poem begins with a communication from Henry James Sr., to his sons Henry and William in which he advises his sons that any life worth living "flowers and fructifies...out of the profoundest tragic depths of the essential dearth in which its subject's roots are plunged."

The more sorrow we experience the more our lives will blossom.

In the poem, a grieving first-person narrator, isolated and lonely, experiences dream encounters with the memory of a loved one, in the night.  During the day, sorrowful, unsatisfying confrontations with the world cause a yearning for something beyond the physical world. 
 
  no one is satisfied with the meagre rations of social vestiges
we invent new religions to satisfy some hunger for divine
heroics

Night is a metaphor for sorrow, and the black and white abstract images and photos of objects interwoven with the poem mirror the balance of night and day, darkness and light that this poem portrays.

Too, contemplation and action are juxtaposed by a slowing down of time in the interior world, and a quickened pace in the exterior world as the narrator endures sorrow and loss over and over again.
 
  ......do not begrudge
me one iota of peace. I die a thousand times before tomorrow.
do not reproach me dear beloved Old One,

Even though this poem confronts the utter pain of separation from a loved one, there are cracks of light in the work, and the last line of an addenda provided at the end of the poem implies a movement toward resolution.
 
  tell them that in dreams, I danced.


Reviewed by Mary Ann Sullivan
    May 2013