Henry Long's Goat Love
A review by David McLean
Goat Love is a chapbook by Henry Long. It consists in two parts, two series of poems. The first, "Coming of age," is a series about maturity and the problems the artist faces not becoming but remaining an artist, retaining his/her creative, or mimetic, vision and inspiration. All this though one knows, as Long does, that the meaning of life and the essence of beauty are not transcendent objects discovered but immanent creations of abject man.
These poems are like what they describe as "fruits in liquor," succulently wordy though concise. Yet they contain so much intellectual nourishment - almost no writers nowadays are aware of the metaphysical heritage that writes them through their clumsy blind hands, though Long knows most of it.
These poems are beautifully crafted, intricate yet feeling as in these lines:
"Be my corporeal Nag Hammadi.
Loneliness is not next to godliness.
Although there's a darkness, love balances chaos."
Part two is "Wheat rows." As the title perhaps suggests, there is here a turning to nature and Being, a Kehre, from the introspective early morning fervor of the first part. There are even Cohen references to a "New flag for the old ceremony," though the punch line is, of course:
"Don't romanticize Nature
Nature wants you dead."
"What matters remembers" is for me the condensation of the whole book's message. Before the mystery of being, almost as though before Beyng in Heidegger's Lichtung, there are no personalities and persons, just the presence that is man before the world, as they make each other.
All in all, a great book, and well worth the ordering, at http://www.henrylong.com/commerce.html.
David McLean has been submitting for the past year and has had around 300 poems accepted by 125 magazines. A chapbook "a hunger for mourning" with 53 of his poems has just been released by Erbacce Press.