Imago (Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction)
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An exuberant collection of poems celebrating art, nature, and humanity.This various and vital poetry collection, in rich language and sharp detail, spans the rural and urban, country and town, and foreign and domestic. Tracing the vagaries of the self, these… poems record and transmute biography from an English youth to the trials and challenges of aging in America. Memorable for its exuberant voice and exacting eye, Brian Swann's Imago is awake to the natural world as well as the world within. From the half-page title poem to the multi-section "Elegiac," this volume is striking in its largeness, its tone evolving from self-indicting to ecstatic and self-transcendent. This collection, the author's fourteenth, is moving both as art and as testament.Imago unfolds much like a piece of music. It is a continuum by which Swann sees nature and art interwoven in the ways they emerge and change. In "Grief and Magritte," Swann muses upon "all of us snagged in a net whose skeins tangle in night sky / where one star dreams another." The title poem focuses on an insect "on its way through the changes, the patterns / of what led up to it, the catches and releases . . . saying now, and now" till "splitting down the back" such changes "release what was always there." Brian Swann's poems, moving in their candor, read as though they have always been there, too.