Friday, December 25, 2009


I've been reading and re-reading the book of poems, White Light Primitive, by Andrew Stubbs, a Canadian poet, professor, and scholar. The book was published this year--by Hagios Press.

It's one of the more memorable, impressive books of poems I've read for some time, made all the more pleasurable because I know Andy. We taught at Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, many, many moons ago.

Some of the poems concern his father's experience in World War II. Others concern--well, this is where one wants simply to say, "Read the poems." The quality of perception, phrasing, imagery, and thought makes all the difference, regardless of the "subjects" or "ideas" Andy approaches. How life actually occurs to the mind and lodges in memory is, to some degree, a fascination of the book. There comparisons to Alan Dugan, Wallace Stevens, Eli Mandel, and other poets to be made. But the genius of these poems may well lie in the individuality of perception and in the spare language that manages to be rich, always enough, never minimalist in a mannered way. For example, here's the opening of a poem called "fire and ice":

winter adding to itself, details
of the dead fill the back
yards, smell of
pine breathing snow
in swimming pools. followed by
april melt, local
river flood, now think
back in time from
open sky, july
heat, plan on

doing . . .

White Light Primitive is one of those books that induce the reader to say, simply, "Thanks."
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