Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Review, Canticle III, Poems by Marine Robert Warden, Bellowing Ark Press,
PO Box 55564, Shoreline, WA 98155, 71 pages, 2007, $12, (review, 2011)
By Barbara Bialick
This will be the third book I have reviewed by Dr. Warden, who was born in 1927, and is an accomplished poet, army veteran, and retired medical doctor, who began writing poetry in 1977. This book is very much involved with traveling in America from one
scenic spot to another, with his wife Lois. It also delves into his personal philosophy by way of odes to poets, composers, painters, dancers, sometimes medicine, and oh so importantly, nature. His work is lyrical, imagistic and smooth, and is done in lower case with no punctuation but for the poetic lines themselves.
The title “Canticle III” refers to a musical composition by Benjamin Britten from 1954, that itself refers to a poem, “Still falls the rain” (1941) by Edith Sitwell. A canticle is a non-metrical song, chant or a hymn that uses words from the Bible, not including the Book of Psalms.
The book then begins with a “Manifesto”: “poetry is music/language as instrument/you can bury the dead dogs/the rotting cities/stink of freeway oil/two hundred years from now/I’ll still love you/wife America life you taught me/when I write my poetry/I should unveil dreams”
In the travelogue sections, he describes scenery with images that are distinctive—such as in “Riverside #7” where “the sun sets into a bathtub on fire/just above the green cypress” or in “Driving North on the Mojave at Night” with “distant vanilla peaks of sierra/rising sheer out of a dark lava sea”
Readers will enjoy the current or flow of the book, which, in philosophical sections, leads to mature conclusions such as in “A Time of Wonder” where he writes, “there are two times when the world/is full of wonder and beauty/when you are young and when you get older/…when older you are learning how much/you didn’t learn/still the idea of the Universe now is larger/the birth of stars more beautiful/…”
Warden has written books including “Finding Beauty” (Bellowing Ark Press, 2009) and “Beyond the Straits” (reprinted by Presa :S: Press, 2010). His poems have appeared in journals that include “California Quarterly”, “Hiram Poetry Review” and “Bellowing Ark.”