D M THOMAS: NOT SAYING EVERYTHING
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ISBN 1 904781 96 9
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This page last updated: 1st September 2009.
|D M THOMAS: NOT SAYING EVERYTHING|
In not saying everything perhaps Mr Thomas has said too much. This is not to disparage his poetry — quite the opposite. His work is well able to stand by itself without the potted biography and snapshots that accompany it. Yes, of course, the prose introduction to the verse is illuminating. Some readers may find it, even in this day and age, a little shocking. But then Mr Thomas is a past master at shocking his readers. He has been accused of obscenity, venality, etc. Unjustified epithets, I think, when one considers how he is able to elevate the most carnally graphic passions to art form. This from FLESH:
Let me ache, indicate, simper who touched Your warm cunt, whisper, let on now, Disperse them into our love. Who did you? It's all the same: Deep prick or, islands of assiduous fictions, Disperse them into our love.And love is what gives this poetry its energy — love for a dead woman. He, like Hardy haunted by Emma, is compelled to write it down. Unlike Hardy, of course, he is not straitjacketed by Victorian morality; although, despite that stifling restriction, Hardy was equally successful in communicating an all-consuming passion and, in his case at least, a deep regret.
Mr Thomas is both imagist and symbolist. Note his use of haiku (and, often, the short musical line) — this from a haiku/senryu sequence at the beginning of the book:
Clothed in earrings, you disengage to strip yourself submissively nakedAnd his symbolism in such poems as BIG DEATH LITTLE DEATH:
They are double-agents exchanged at a border it's snowing from a grey sky on to black fields they climb out of black cars they are terribly tired of wondering whom they betray they avoid looking into their own eyesThere is yet another ism: romanticism. It is this particular ism that enables him to transform those graphic, carnal passions into a sensational and moving love story.
As to that prose introduction — why not a separate and complete autobiography, Mr. Thomas?
|reviewer: Michael Bangerter.|