A rich and giddy tour of poems inspired by Spanish Art. The Other Guernica

April 1st, 2019 § 0 comments

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The Other Guernica , by Derek Sellen, is reviewed by Fiona L. Bennett on The High Window:

The Other Guernica is a rich and giddying tour inspired by Spanish Art and artists and the poet’s own encounter with the country and its culture. Acute in its observation, surreal in its imaginative leap of thought this is a project that rewards the reader with poems fired by provocation, storytelling and the sumptuous power of visual description […]

The third section, ‘The Circling Bee – poems on art and artists’, hums with a thrilling register that brings the experience of the paintings to life in extraordinary ways. Here the deft turn of phrase that is one of the hallmarks of this collection, ‘Phoebus tailgates Mercury’ in ‘The Sky of Salamanca’ and ‘plates and nations butt together’ in ‘Still Life’, lifts us out of mere viewpoint and into a visceral encounter with the world and the work that is at one and the same moment hallucinatory and grounded.

Peter Stewart writes, in The Frogmore Papers 93:

Some of the poems I read on their own, trying to guess the period and theme of the paintings to which they referred; with others I Googled the works before reading the poems; and with some I simply read through the poems in sequence, as if it were any other book. I have revisited many as I’ve found out more about the artistic periods and works illustrated by the poems. At their best, the poems are as delicately allusive and mysterious as the visual works they reference.

Links to all the paintings

Order Derek Sellen’s poetry collection for £10 plus p&p: The Other Guernica 

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