Monday, January 7, 2013

Carolyn Srygley-Moore's Miracles of the BloG (Book Review) by David McLean

Author: Carolyn Srygley-Moore
Title: Miracles of the BloG
Publisher: Punk Hostage Press, 2012

Carolyn Srygley-Moore is without a doubt one of the most important poets active today within the small press. In the introduction one reads of the original meaning of wonder. To be pedantic the word comes from miraculum, and this means simply “something one wonders at,” an awesome thing, as it were. The Christian hijacking of the word occurred in the 12th century in France, around the time they were devising courtly love and suchlike. It also, from the 13th, acquired a non-religious meaning. Here the word replaced the OE “wundorweorc”, same word as underverk in Swedish, which means basically a miracle in the religious sense

In the Bible the word “miracle” can translate the Greek semeion, teras, or dunamis. For poetry, the first of these is most significant (no pun intended). It is not a question of signs that tell us what the deity wants or intends or means, the logos that matters is the signification and its play in which we are entwined and help create ourselves and our attitudes, the words and meanings a platform on which we stand or from which we fall. The book can be seen as a handbook on how not to fall.

The miracle is twofold, the way words and thought, which is made of words, work to define the position of the subject in life in the world and to redefine the world. Carolyn sometimes writes of matters that are harsh and unpleasant, but almost always in a way that does not surrender, that finds beauty and strength somewhere and rests in it.

I just read a poem by Philip Schultz.
It is a poem about weakness.
Flip the card is the mantra of fortitude
the irreparable mantra wincing
of strength.

(From Miracles of fear & silence & bicycles)

This is what she does. Turns the bad into something that holds reconciliation.

Beauty is a strange thing.
I would paint the ash of the dead pink
if I had the means.
(From Miracles of painting the ash pink)

This is a Christian poet, and I do not know what particular meaning she might give to the word “miracle." Though I myself as atheist as one can be I can fully relate to this writing, the miracle can be something Dawkins could agree to, the marvelous resilience and creativity of the human psyche under stress, the psyche that is of nature, part of nature, a manifestation of the natural animal.

A famous atheist, Einstein, writes: 

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
(Letter to an atheist, 1954) 

And he also said: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” This is another way to see the book, as a Kantian “as if” - we act as though this were a miracle, it becomes a miracle. Like a regulative idea that we need to retain our humanity and the possibility of creativity – we act as though such and such a phenomenon is miraculous for us at some time, and it is.

This book is a tremendous collection of poetry. I can seriously recommend it. Some of the poetry is a miracle, in the sense of fucking awesome:

I woke up laughing this morning.
My daughter was home her face tanned & fuller.
I wrote of the dead was filled with the fact
that I am not dead. Not yet. Two near death
experiences wasted me. Planted me like pink
swastikas before the Nazis altered their symbolism:
once a symbol
of origin not evil.
There are so many dead people my brother said
as he passed a graveyard on the path to the marina.
Can we have a picnic amongst the graves I asked.
No my mother said. Leave the dead
to their own devices. Leave the dead to their own.

(From Miracles of the fiction in the glass)

The book is on sale here:

Author bits: 

David McLean is from Wales but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there with partner, dogs and cats. In addition to six chapbooks, McLean is the author of three full-length poetry collections: CADAVER’S DANCE (Whistling Shade Press, 2008), PUSHING LEMMINGS (Erbacce Press, 2009), and LAUGHING AT FUNERALS (Epic Rites Press, 2010). His first novel HENRIETTA REMEMBERS is coming in 2014. More information about David McLean can be found at his blog


David C. McLean said...

The book is on sale here BTW:

Clockwise Cat said...

Added link. Thanks!