Sunday, July 08, 2007

Limbos for Amplified Harpsichord by Stanley Nelson

Limbos for Amplified Harpsichord
by Stanley Nelson
ISBN: 0977252485
Pub. Date: September 28, 2007

Review by Irene Koronas.

Stanley Nelson’s poetry, at least in this volume of work, ‘limbos for amplified harpsichord,‘ is at first startling in his use of space. otherwise, he uses the typical constructs that most poets use. his takes his subject and plays it throughout the book; Couperin is his fusion between the rhythm of the poems and the repetition of images (cherubs). fraught with intellectual references to historical figures and painting, he is able to bring the past into this present rendition of a musical score. cage he is not. he brings his own sensibility to writing poetry.

the reader maybe entranced by his cherubs; I find them to be an overused metaphor for whatever the winged creatures may represent. he poses many question: “how to become the lonely one? how to know the solitude of the patient one?” these question do not lead me to any conclusions or answers about myself, they only reflect the writers intentions at questioning himself. in understanding these questions I am left with the same question. what is experimental about this work, other than the form? perhaps he deems it experimental in breaking up of some words or scrambling the theme?

the poems would reach a wider audience if he used a more standard form. this would then allow the reader an easier access to his poetry without having to figure out the score (even though the poems are suppose to look like a musical sheet.) I’m not convinced by his fairy tale or classical approach. “the artist-cavalier meets his brother-self the composer-artist as objects breathe in air like sound; dead leaves and powder horn, herring on polished pewter, lutes and lobsters.” these images are classical Dutch paintings trying for a modern day appeal; the experimentations of the present day writer?

this is a well written book with obvious well read references that will appeal to many people. there are some experimentation but not enough to be called experimental. “how to carve in the cherub in the wood of the harpsichord?” ‘limbos for amplified harpsichord,’ is a throw back to classical poets and if read as such the reader will enjoy and be enthralled by nelson’s writing.

>rene koronas. irene Koronas is the poetry editor for the Wilderness House Literary Review and the author of "self portrait drawn from many..." ( Ibbetson St. 2007)

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