Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jeffrey Allen

I'd like to look at Jeffrey Allen, specifically his chapbook Bone and Diamond. His work is what I think the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus would have been writing if he cared for poetry. If you love his work, and you will if you love Shakespeare and Norse legends, or even Tolkien, check out all his poems, writing and books here.

"Clawless" is amazing, but "Cloudtrigger" is just as good. As is "This is Coyote's Dream" [the one on page 8]. I mean his first line in "Coyote" is:

the sun is an accuser, will work for its armament.

And then later:

[...] a tankard of golden adder

Allen has a great sense of progression, and his images are impeccable. I see classicism and neo-classicism in them, and love it, but I think everyone could feel a connection. An example of his almost musical movement forward is from "Hunters", here:

i drew my brother's bow
                             bent back into my ear
    the string a struck bell       deep           in a clear pool

His poem "Cloudtrigger" is great, with echoes of Plath, late Hughes and Eliot with the air but with the flower it feels so beautifully like Spenser. His opening is somehow quiet, and bookended by strange, intimate close to the stanza:

and the remains of a woman who yet died at her dawn
                                      thunderheads [...]
                              tonguing the iris to remove the wounding

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