By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
By Michael Farrell (Giramondo Publishing, $24.00, softcover, 123 Pages)
Open Sesame is not a traditional book of poems.
Farrell’s third substantial book of poetry represents a selection of the best poems written over a seven-year period, described as an “opening up of my work in terms of accessibility”.
However, the stylised layout resembles a splintered narrative—that has a certain appeal. The verses, while describing a sequence of events, have a lilting impact!
Drawing on a myriad of influences, the technique is structured and curated.
Reflected in his work is both ‘reading and life experience’, along with a political aspect.
He points out: ‘Though I am constantly reading poetry, fiction and nonfiction, I also include cinema, TV, music and visual art as part of this reading practice. The opening poem ‘lovey’, for example, puns on the French term for town ‘la ville’, and draws on the plot of the French film La Ville est Tranquille (The Town is Quiet).
‘There is also a series of poems (sonnets) that draw on the sexual (melo)dramas of the television series The Bill’.
Following Heath Ledger’s death, ‘lyric’ is a mournful composition, inflected through Joni Mitchell; ‘wide open road’ is an elegy for David McComb.
The collage poems also attempt to shock new phrasings into reality, whereas poems like ‘letter to sam langer’ and ‘the ballad of bubble & squeak’ try to take the concept of a ‘poem for a friend’ to a new extreme.
The collection attracts maximum variety and impact and demonstrates that character, wit and warmth can be present in any kind of writing.
Edition 405, 15 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.