Escape Sonnets


by Brian Edwards

ISBN 978-1-875934-56-0
119 Pages
Price: AUS$19.80 (GST inc)

This collection falls into four major sections: 'American Letters,' 'On Art and Artifice,' 'Homage to Eliot' and 'Travel and Returns'. Such a division itself provides a narrative of poetic escape. 'American Letters' is that place in which Edwards finds himself poetically - a land of extraordinary topography and peoples. From his namesake Jonathan Edwards, through Emerson and Whitman and Hawthorne and Thoreau and Melville and Williams and ..., Edwards explores the landscape of his fall. Lebanon and Vermont, Althusser and Tony the Lincoln Dealer. What made this world but art itself? So Edwards turns from his mapping of the America of Poets towards an analysis of their powers. 'On Art and Artifice' examines poetically the poetics of conquest and liberation, from Simon Bolivar to Baldung, Dürer, Delacroix, Rubens, Pasolini, Brando and Homer. Military leaders, painters, filmmakers, actors, and writers. And, of course, Shakespeare himself, the ultimate artist. 'Homage to Eliot' identifies, affirms, praises another great father, Eliot, in order to find a way past him. 'Let gods/stand up for bastards, he says': how can one figure the apocalypse and be gone' In 'Travels and Returns', the poet has become a kind of citizen of the world of words, able to come and go, to hide and expose himself, to remake the signifiers the past has bequeathed us: 'On this hillside, in our garden filled with trees/we can fashion life again whatever way we please'. But there is always something more, something else, something less amenable to words than any poet would wish. As Edwards says, in one of many stunning lines, 'there is something out there'. It is towards such an elusive something that these often mysterious and subtle poems turn, 'chasing echoes as slick as hares ...'
                                                   Justin Clemens