Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 National Poetry Month: Controlled Hallucinations by John Sibley Williams

2014 National Poetry Month: Reach for the Horizon Blog Tour hosted by Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit

I am going to review a poetry book. It is contemporary poetry and I discovered the poet via the net, liked what he had written, requested a copy and he was kind enough to send me one. 

Title: Controlled Hallucinations
Author: John Sibley Williams
ISBN: 978-1938853227
Publisher: FutureCycle Press/2013
Pages: 78

As the title suggests, Williams has been able to control the hallucinations. He has taken the everyday experiences and juxtaposed those with feelings, thoughts and varied images. He has taken note of life from all its aspects by making use of metaphors, some of those are unthinkable for an average reader of poetry. He does it so seamlessly and the reader craves for more. He speaks of ball of yarn, to be in love, about rooftops, mirrors, seeing people in the clouds and the blue sky, fence posts, birds and raw emotions blended with passion. 
Let me take the first poem which sets the tone and that tone is maintained throughout.


I see a man on an adjacent building
silhouette cut from the skyline.
So I also cut out the roof
he stands on.
I cut out the tools
and the cascading shingles.
I cut out the hydrangeas
the shingles decapitate
on their way down.
I cut out the mountain
in the distance,
still coddling its last snows
replacing it with a silo,
the shingles with paper
I replace the man
with another man
with a woman
with a horse
a piano
with a book
and myself.
Nothing quite fits.
But the man
no longer fits either
on the roof
on skyline
And I wonder is this
what it means
to touch?
The imagery is so good that one wants to keep reading. 


With an apple in my mouth, yes,
I must be swine.
Because strangers stop momentarily
to capture me in their lenses,
I must be a roadside attraction.
As there is nothing to hold to
in what I say,
        I say it again
        And again--

nonsense being the tenderest 
act of friendship, of identity.

I can be cloudburst, yes,
and I can be my own prey.
I can be you.
         or, if you say it,
         none of these

I especially liked the twists at the end. Because that is what I do. That is what I am. A poet. 

Re-reading his poems gives yet another meaning. The knowing turns to un-knowing. From churches to graveyards, from skylines to bedrooms. From clouds to the grounds. The journey is just an illusion. Or hallucinations. Controlled or ended or closed. Understand it any way you want. 


Harvee said...

I love that about poetry - you can "understand it any way you want."

I can see why you chose this poet - his images become vivid.

Serena said...

This collection was all over the place, but it was good and the twisted endings were great.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I love poetry so much. It's nutritious. And delicious.

The Bookworm said...

Controlled Hallucinations sounds like a good collection. I like that about poetry, you can decipher it in your own way.