- Series: Poiema Poetry (Book 7)
- Paperback: 92 pages
- Publisher: Cascade Books (October 16, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1625641796
- ISBN-13: 978-1625641793
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Scape: Poems (Poiema Poetry)
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More than a book, Scape is a sacred offering, a scape we can hold that directs our gaze and supports us, in the long, shivering road up, up. --Suzanne Paola, author, The Lives of the Saints
Luci Shaw notes in one of her new poems that, 'without the impediment / of gravity the dancer / cannot dance.' And it's just that wise understanding of the weights and balances of life that her poems get so right. . . . Such abstractions live in the particulars of an egg's brownness, a snail's glistening trail, a sparrow's 'economical and precise' pecking, and the taut feel of a trout on the line. Luci Shaw's poems incarnate the 'slow pleasure of being. --Robert Cording, author, Common Life
Luci's most witty, brilliant book. . . . One after another, these poems ground the reader utterly in the concrete and physical--and then, with the jet engine of metaphor, they take off into the world of spirit. --Jeanne Murray Walker, University of Delaware
About the Author
Luci Shaw is a widely known and published writer, essayist, and lecturer on art and faith. Born in the UK in 1928, she has lived in Australia and Canada and now makes her home in Bellingham, Washington, with her husband, John Hoyte. Since 1989 she has been writer in residence at Regent College, Vancouver. She is winner of the tenth annual Denise Levertov award for "sustained engagement in creative writing in the Judeo-Christian tradition"
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Things I didn’t have much time for when I was younger seem to be more important.
Things like art exhibitions. Poetry. Watching bees and hummingbirds in the garden (I spent several minutes sitting at our kitchen window on Saturday, watching a hummingbird flit from flower to flower in the garden).
Maybe I simply have more time. Children are grown and on their own. Work has become less about career and more about accomplishment. Retirement is looming.
I’m paying more attention. And I’m paying more attention to the creative acts, and acts of creation, around me.
I’m not alone in this. I hear friends saying similar things.
So I come to a volume of poetry like “Scape: Poems” by Luci Shaw, and what’s she talking about in every poem is familiar, recognizable, and somehow moving.
The title itself, “Scape,” is intriguing. She provides three definitions: in botany, “a plant stem growing directly from the ground”; in biology, “a stalk-like part such as the shaft of a feather”; and in architecture, “a stake, column, or support.” The word comes from the Latin for shaft or stalk, and it’s not unrelated to a number of familiar words like landscape. Shaw uses those three definitions to organize the 65 poems in the collection.
Many of the poems are about nature, as one might expect, but Shaw uses the theme in unexpected ways. She traces the veins of a leaf like the veins of a human hand, veins particularly pronounced with age (I speak from experience). Or a ramble upon a rocky seashore becomes a meditation about succeeding generations. Nature, and the creation that is nature, lead back to the pinnacle of creation—man and woman—and to the creator.
She’s also playful. Look at this poem about a rainstorm.
Thunder and Then
Thunder and then the rain comes and the
prairie that has been baked dry and the
shriveled grass and the ground that has
thirsted all summer open like mouths as
the wet arrives at first in whispers and
then in sheets of silver arrows that tear the
air and join like the clapping of hands to
a downfall that makes splashes in the dirt
and grows to pools that shine in the silver light
and the dry creeks with their stones begin to
thank God for sending water for their need
so that there is praise in the rushing streams
and the trees also raise praise with their leaves
flashing and now wind like a fist takes hold of the
house and shakes it and us and it seems that
all the world is drowning in the delight of deluge.
I like what Shaw does here. Notice how many lines end in “and the” or “the.” Three times she breaks prepositional phrases between lines. This structure provides a kind of breathless reading, as does the fact the entire poem is one sentence, and this successfully conveys in the structure of words and lines the sounds and the experience of a rainstorm. The poet not only uses words to convey an idea or a meaning but also the sounds of words to amplify the subject.
Shaw’s poems in “Scape” remind me of that hummingbird in the garden, its sleek green body and staccato-like wing movements proving a unity of form and purpose as it drinks its fill of the flowers. These are poems about the beauty of creation, and the creative act, written with a perceptive and understanding eye.