There’s a lot of outstanding poetry around, but not enough readers. What makes poetry worth reading? Say the poet visits an interesting place. We all visit interesting places now and again. We’re impressed, we remember the place, we tell people about it. But the poet writes about it in such a way the the place is startlingly vivid, the emotions it stirs are both strong and subtle, and the insight that emerges from it is astonishing. We read the poem and feel we have made a discovery. We possess something extraordinary that we didn’t possess before.
Oonah visited the Pipestone National Monument in Wisconsin, USA, and her poem ‘Pipestone’ has all these qualities. Read it and you make a discovery. Other places in her book, Three Pounds of Cells, places from New York to Brantwood in Cumbria, come to life in equal measure. It’s not only places, but people, works of art, memories, ‘ordinary’ experiences made extraordinary. Poetry like this deserves a host of readers.
A fabulous collection of poems. The variety in style and theme engages, and Joslin proves herself an inventive wordsmith. I was captivated and found a mood and emotion for any moment. Like all the best poetry I find myself returning time and again. I look forward to the next publication.
Oonah Joslin wonders, as in her introduction, where “the light and the music” comes from. This collection, about awareness, perception and understanding, is an exploration of memory and dream. These are poems about sense and sensation, the poetry in all things. Visions of a world sometimes painfully beautiful to behold. Whether an extraordinary ekphrastic poem about a painting of Prometheus, or bearing witness to time itself, as in her poem Pipestone (“I see/ by rock am seen”); she draws the threads around her into a fascinating body of work. There are contemplative pieces, yet with poems like Unreality Realised and Phase Transition the metaphysical becomes strikingly personal. She writes character studies, both poignant and humourous, as well as meditations that range from playful to stark. She writes about the rhythms of the world, found at all times, in all places. From discovering New York to relating her love of the sea. Death, loss, music, literature, we are all of these things, she knows; and the story of more. I have been a fan of her work for some time, and any lover of poetry should seek her out, this collection is a striking introduction.
My good fortune began years ago when I met Oonah on an online writer's group. It continued through her publications and various magazines and literary websites to which she contributes. Call me old fashion, but I am thankful for this century's almost instant online communications. It has allowed me to stay in touch with her work, even as I live half a world away.
But now I actually have my hands on a book of her poetry, "Three Pounds of Cells". Her art has continued to amaze and delight me and has influenced my own writing efforts. It has stirred my heart.
From "Rhythm of Rain (this morning's music...)" to "Notes of Loss (Every spring has older ears...)", the words and images of Oonah's writing, her wonderful art, both tug at the heart and lips, whether up or down, to stir the emotions often found left undisturbed at the end of most days.
I am privileged to have found "Three Pounds Of Cells" and to have it readily at hand to read again and again.