Friday, August 17, 2012

“The I in India and US” Llyn Clague

“The I in India and US”
Llyn Clague
Pure Heart Press c-2012

Review by Timothy Gager

I’m a big fan of double meaning so immediately the title is something which I was interested in solving. Is it the letter “I” or is it the narrator? Is it the United States of America or is it us? The answer to those questions is all of the meanings are true. In this 92 page book of poetry, Clague takes us on an observatory trip as an outside to the country of India. In his poetry you ride buses and cabs; you walk long distances and all along way you meet people and file your thoughts. These thoughts are captured strongly by Clague.

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. --Emily Dickinson

If Emily Dickinson were reviewing this book,  by her own definition, she wouldn’t know if this was poetry or not. The way I would describe “The I in India and US” is that it is poetry written in a narrative story-telling style. Take this for instance (from “The Basics”):

I shuffle off shoes
and enter the Meditation Hall
where a small man,
dressed in white, loose pants and jacket, feet and pate bare,
introduces himself as Jelle (“YELL-eh”).
A 19-year-old Dutchman, three years at the ashram,
He will lead us through yoga’s first steps.

This selection, which I picked for no particular reason, sums up a lot about the style of Llyn Clague’s poetry. The work reads as decorative fiction, but reports events in the way a friend would tell you about his trip. Overall, I found Clague’s trip interesting. He, as our tour guide, gives us the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of a country in a insightful way. After reading, I wanted to have a conversation with the poet to gather more stories and insights of his visit. The book gives you an open and honest impression of his observations, something which I found refreshing.

Recommended to those who define poetry in other ways than Emily Dickinson.

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