Approaching any review is like the start of a journey, you know where you are starting from but you have no idea where the journey is going to take you, what side-tracks or falls you may have and whether you will enjoy the journey because not all journeys are enjoyable. I was asked to review two completely different booklets of poetry from Peter Brooke, the first “To a Mask” covers the period Oct 2013-Dec 2014, the second is a series of poems entitled “8 poems” translated from the French of Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes and published in 2020.
Peter’s first booklet embraces ‘Politics and Theology, a central piece of his life. Peter is an artist, writer, and educationalist with a depth and breadth of knowledge that enables him to write and interpret extremely well for himself and others.
There are twenty-one poems in this slim booklet which cover a painting by Antonia Spowers to Little Children to Christian Love to The Book of Mormon to his final piece The Wrath of God.
I am not a poet, indeed generally I find poetry to be boring and of little relevance to me at all. But each piece in this booklet has a line(s) that stop you and make you think. They haven’t made me turn to ‘God’ as I feel that the god that churches and religion speak about is one made up by so many people as a way of comforting and also of controlling others. But, you can read Peter Brooke’s prose, indeed dip into it, and think, and surely that is what any good writing should do.
Now in his second booklet, “8 poems” Peter Brooke has gone back to his love of art and to his own love of Gleizes, a Cubist avant-garde artist who was a contemporary of Georges Ribemont-Dessagnes, and a solid member of the Dada movement. So when reading these poems by Georges you have to align yourself to that time period and Dadaism which was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centres in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire (c. 1916). New York Dada began c. 1915, and after 1920 Dada flourished in Paris. Dadaist activities lasted until c. the mid 1920s. (Wikipedia).
…‘What were you born of, poet? Of time and space,
Without beginning or end,…’
The ‘8 poems’ move through the origins of a poet, to childhood, to looking at (through) a mirror, youth, knowledge and old age / wax beauty. They flow well in this interpretation by Peter, and I found these poems somewhat more reachable, but, yet again on a literal medium I can understand and interpret the words and they conjure up pictures, I still don’t know if the pictures being created are those that the poet was aiming for, and with that thought, I think I will have to accept that poetry is and can only be subjective to the reader. I know what I like, exactly in the same way as you do, but we can agree to disagree and remain friends.
- WikiArt – Dada Movement
- WikiArt – Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes
- MoMA – Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes
- Wikpedia – Dada
- Peter Brooke
- Jack Clemo – Poet
- Art by Peter Brooke – Cubism and Tradition
- Charles Filiger as a young man in Paris, 1888 – a wonderful article by Peter