To be a poet one needs the six P’s – the pencil, the paper, the perception, the passion, the persistence and the unshakable persuasion that the poem is in fact possible and attainable. - Grace Perry

Monday, September 24, 2012

Occam's Aftershave

John Watson's collection Occam's Aftershave was a delight to read. Watson's poetry is philosophical and the major theme of this collection is poetry; the forms of poetry and the relationship that readers have with poetry.

I was in love with his writing style from the first poem, which I heard him read at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba. 'To the Faithful Reader' is a poem full of wit. Taunting us as readers, "...if you believe this you'll believe / Anything, and are thereby God's Gift to Fabulists" (7).

Watson's poetry is metafictive. The poems in this collection are continually reminding us that we are readers, preventing us from being absorbed into the world the poem is constructing, but easily entertaining us with Watson's ability with the craft of writing. The sequence 'Cow Pastures' consists of various short form poems, for example, limericks and haikus. The series explores language through a discussion of a tract of land called the Cow Pastures, after a group of stray, wild cows. Watson writes in 'Cow Pastures: Without the Letter e':
Sun and rain on cows waking and walking daily
In paddocks without plough or human hand
With stringy-bark and blackbutt shadows passing at noon
Across a shallow cliff and against high cloud;
Cloud cows multiplying month on month as if making cud,
A moist black calf standing and swaying and lowing,
Is this not a sign of worlds in formation
Occurring with a total lack of human thought?

Another great sequence in this collection is 'Bellingen Writers' Festival', with fabulous lines like:
...There should be poets on the street. Instead
Teenage girls are shouting Oh my God.

...A valley reservoir of metaphor...
Yet at the festival with wine and cheese
The writers seem oblivious of these.

I highly recommend this collection it is an expert architecture of language.

You can purchase Occam's Aftershave here.