Tom Clark: Something in the Air
Published 15 March 2010
Paperback, 128pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95
The American poet/critic Bill Knott, speaking of Tom Clark's new work, has pointed to "the flow, the melodic momentum, the words in their intricate meaning(s), it's all done with such subtle touches, [the poet] in perfect control of his technique."
Clark writes of "how the film over words/Loses its toxic power in certain lights . . ." This new clearer, more candid illumination— from which "the skin of empire drifts off/Like a poison that's evaporated"—he would discover in the imagination of a pure poetic state of dream, reverie and play, emerging palpably out of the "slipstream blankness" of the empty canvas/page and out of the things of an immediate human and natural world.
A poet of original vision and gentle, careful word-shaping, Clark allows his images to merge and converge toward a resolution in which flow is not arrested but pauses to take thought; the images take over the controls and "do the talking," almost as if they had a mind of their own. What a relief when that happens, the poet confesses; he just follows along and tries to stay out of the way of whatever it is they seem to want to be saying.
And when the elements of image and sound and sense do then mysteriously come together in the moment, as Clark here proposes, "A point is fixed . . ."
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