Love, Stars, and Paradigms. Poems by Swarn Gill. Literary Revelations Press, 2023.
Reviewed by Gary Gautier
Swarn Gill’s book of poems has a bit of everything, from politics to interesting conceptual hooks (“the love of time not noticed”; “we are the moment time vibrates”; “your life / in a groove no wider than a dime”) to the one-lining bravado of Allen Ginsberg (“Melville’s Ahab’s got nothing on me”; “capitalism has its eye on you”). Mostly though, these are intimate poems of human feeling, best when they settle into pockets of suggestive imagery (“a galaxy of gold / through curved lenses / of glass and tissue”). Interestingly, the intimacy is sometimes carried in panoramic Whitmanesque sweeps (“static electricity felt everywhere … the trees, the towers / the peaceful church steeples / me standing tall in a field”; “my carbon is breathed in the trees … I glide through time with magnificent ease.” Or in the imagery of physics and astronomy (“the quartz of you / crystallizing before my eyes”; “I rotate on my axis”; “I marvel at Saturn’s rings”). The collection was a little uneven for me – some poems captivated me less than others, and I struggled at times with the rhyming poems – but I found it strong overall, with lots of poems and hooks and closures I will long remember. Definitely worth reading more than once.
among the daisies
let emerald butterflies
send me to slumber
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