Sunday 20 March 2016

Wondrous Intellectual Height

Philip Lanthier tries to define why D.G. Jones' poetry was so unique:
Poems, wrote Jones, have backbones. They are “stalks of syntax” on which sway flocks of images “which rise and whirl / shifting / like the red-wings in their single cloud then “arrow into statement.” His poems have a wondrous intellectual height: images and perceptions drop, phrase by phrase, down the page in cryptic or ironic notation. From US poets Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams he learned how to construct an image, how to use the white spaces between lines, and how to apply an intense focus on objects as a way of compressing and communicating feeling. For Jones—to use one of his own lines—“Everywhere some small design erupts.” He discovered a kindred soul in Quebec poet Paul-Marie Lapointe, whose poems he translated. When he describes a Lapointe poem as “a series of luminous tracks that betray invisible electrons startled from atomic sleep,” he could be explaining the way his own poetry moves elliptically and unpredictably towards an indeterminate destination.

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