Book Review: The Strangest Thankyou
by Richard Thomas
By Steve Smith for Reflections
[with thanks to Steve Smith for permission to reproduce his review]
Poetry shouldn’t do anything. It doesn’t have to. It shouldn’t be so constrained; I think. But, as I think… as I read… maybe we should feel and think through the poet’s eyes… senses… and reflect upon ourselves. And reflect upon the world/art/artifice/stuff. And be emboldened; and further think. And wonder.
Well, this book- nice cover!- popped through our letterbox for review, the first book by Richard Thomas. Richard has been published in this magazine- or, journal, if you will- and other carriers of words, both real and handheld or virtual screens.
What might poetry do? Take the reader on a journey; fix the mind to a moment, a view? The smallest part- or universal love, or a universal rage, or simply, a kiss?
I don’t want to discuss technicalities, they bore me: Vicky’s doing a university course that would kill poetry at a glance, as it rips apart the entrails without seeing the animal, free, running and sleeping and making love. And seeing. And wondering.
When I read poetry, or listen to a singer of songs (same thing?), I want to feel. Structure is important: it is the beat of hearts, and art. And Richard structures well. And is fluid. He is not stuck. And form, most importantly, does not overide feeling.
Did I mention ‘journey’? This book takes me on one. It begins with a journey, in ‘Nature’, and a choice: “towering grey pylons” or the “sweet abstract of trees.” The poet longs to be part of “gentle nature… take your oath and make a grand old oak.” The poet’s affinity with Nature- or a longing for that affinity- reappears throughout the book. It is there with the mystery of cats, “in magnificent beams of sunlight dare/ to yolk your yellow diamond eyes then leave”, in ‘The Colours of the Cat’. It is there, more exotically, in ‘Flamingo’ and ‘Kingdom’, based on the painting ‘Nature’s Myth’ by Catherine Bleck.
But Richard is more than this. Plots thicken. He responds. There are mermaids, good sex, and pigeons in Italy, and the obligatory poem about writing poetry. And feelings. Responses. Feeling… “the vines of the sun/ that wrap you/ whole.”
The Strangest Thankyou by Richard Thomas is published by Cultured Llama