- Hardcover: 234 pages
- Publisher: BAD MOON; 1st edition (1913)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00V4DDV1W
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
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Four Elements Hardcover – 1913
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Four Bram Stoker Award winning poets join together to paint a rich, dark tapestry of evocative emotion in The Four Elements. From modern interpretations to ancient mythology, they explore the magic and mystery of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. Their vivid poetry and prose brings to life a universe in a grain of sand, taking the reader through a journey of discovery from the inside out. Hear the hot voice of invisible awareness in Linda Addison's interpretation of Air. Explore the realm of ethereal and surreal liquidity in Rain Graves' Water. Burn from crevice to crown in Charlee Jacob's wild-eyed visions of Fire. Contemplate Marge Simon's poignant twists of dark irony to eruptions of spontaneous wonder in Earth. There is something for everyone in The Four Elements - conjured especially for the reader that likes to examine the meticulous depth and meaning in every word.
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“You call me mother”
Marge Simon is a perfect choice for Earth. Her poetry’s always well grounded and solid. Deceptively simple to grasp, even as fine grains slide through your grey matter. “The Time Drifter” and “The Astronaut’s Return” show this beautifully. Both seem to be straightforward narrations, one sided conversations, that bookend each other with a simple inversion (“It is death, not life, that has no limits” and “It is life, not death that has no limits”) that ties these two disparate stories together, feeding new meanings and impact into them. Then there is “That Thing You Do: 3005 A.D.”, which seems so archaic in concept, with the washing and preparation of the bride for congress juxtaposed with the futuristic date. It’s soft, sensual, natural, yet is obsessed with deception. And that isn’t going into her marvelous use of rhythm and stanza.
“Drink, and be reborn”
Then comes Rain Graves, whose work I have never read before this but who is described as a meeting point between Lovecraft and Bukowski in the introductory material. Any illusion of the peace and tranquility often associated with water is ruptured and drowned from the start with “The Alligator God and the Sea” awash in violence and rage and utter nihilistic disappointment. I am sure Hemmingway would be happy with the allusion. Her words slip and slither, edging on reason and sitting comfortably on the tongue; full of rich imagery and meaning that slides through grasping fingers. Where Marge’s poetry is easily accessible, Rain takes a bit more work, but it’s well worth the effort. Take this, from “HP Lovecraft, Drinking a Little”: “bleeding to be whole, and imaginary, and culinary and… simply loveable, like wine. We often feel, say the Elder Gods, we are just the cheese they brought, and not at all the good kind” and try not to weep a bit at the loss of importance. She ends it all on a series of poems based around the myths of Hades and those thick, black rivers that flow therein. I may well have a new obsession, here.
“Dancing to music of both screams and birth”
Charlee Jacob. I shouldn’t have to say more than that, should I? But you know I will. Fire blisters, burns and scars the flesh, but sears clean wounds that throb with infection. I can’t think of a better metaphor for her work. There are no words here that do not carry the weight of agony on their shoulders, no stanzas that do not bury you beneath it. There is less sense here, and more rage in these intricate paintings woven of words and emotion; dreams that screech and whine on the stark white of the page. Yet, there is a catharsis and a sense of hope to it all, echoed in the self-determinism of Lucifer (via “Reaching Back to Eden: The Snake”) that “when we die we shall have to rely on our own light, flickering, wan, at tunnel’s end”.
“Sings softly over stony curves”
Rounding us out, we have Linda Addison, a woman who was first brought to my attention by a scraggly post-mortal feline and the grandiose come-on of Dr. Booty. Her poetry can seem random, immensely beautiful but evasive. Words flow and eddy, tear and caress, then flit away into nothing and it all can too easily be dismissed as nonsense. As she states in “Fearless”, “There are no answers in this empty when, just death, ghosts, bleeding songs, one broken moon shape high above, no one to breathe me.” Please note that “seem” from earlier, though. There is meaning here, even if it will not present itself to you. There is sense as well as sensation, but it refuses to sit still. Like Marge’s twinning of the Drifter and the Astronaut, Linda loops the aptly named “Disambiguation” into “Homecoming” into a dance of dissolution and reformation that makes it clear that Addison does not act without purpose. I’ll be puzzling over these poems for quite some time and I love it.