Book Fair



Anathama: Poems Selected and New. Andreas Gripp.
Harmonia Press / Poetry: Canada.  August 1, 2009. 184 Pages. Trade Paperback.  $12.00 Includes shipping.

Anathama features a comprehensive collection of favourite poems revisited plus brand-new offerings.

 ***All Prices are in Canadian and U.S. Funds***

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Harmonia Press
443 Three Valleys Crescent
London, ON
N5Z 3E6
Tel: (519) 282-1916

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Anathama (front cover)

Anathama (Back Cover)


Anathema: Poems Selected & New by Andreas Gripp

Reviewed by Katherine L. Gordon
Poet & Columnist, Ancient Heart Magazine (U.K.)

Anathema as a title, suggests the banned and cursed. The gorgeous graphics of the front and back covers illustrate the concept with the perfection of pathos. The weeping, grief-distraught angel confronting you and the soil-splattered marble child on the reverse speak of a ruined purity, a doctrine lost.

Anathema also addresses the daring of this poet to visit emotional corners that most contemporaries avoid. Andreas Gripp's special signature, as an exciting modern poet, is to lead you trembling into terrible truths: a book of loss exquisitely delineated by the knife of the poet's language. Lost dreams lurk despite being shredded in cruel reality. Gripp faces and articulates life's barbed twists, and we cannot resist the harsh drama that we have experienced and buried so much of, ourselves. He gives us time to love / a little.

The City exposes urban experience as steamy, fearful yet full: I feel no enmity with it. We become as rigid shapes: / dried / on canvas snared in Le Fait Accompli, the neutrals of life breaking us bland.

All the flaws of cultural and religious rule that suppress so much natural joy, the anathema of doctrines denounced, come tantalyzingly alive in these poems: teaching their kids to kiss the trees isn't idolatry / when we consider the weight of crowns, / of gold and of thorns.

Most of our idols are addressed and toppled in the sweat of language and razored philosophy, in this compelling book. Hallelujahs of old, reminiscent of Cohen but more biting. Age and attitude are in your face, as are the shadows on lunar scars.

In this fearless tackling of topics so proscribed, the reader will find his or her own banned subjects in mausoleums and traitors, in grief yet humour, allowing our self-inflicted pain of disenchantment, acknowledging our moth-to-the-flame attractions. Somehow, what really matters in this quixotic life is intelligently and marvelously expressed in spare but elegant language throughout the book, with a compelling twist of words and fresh angles of thought. Something disregarded as Carrot Tops is revered: I will hang you on the wall in lieu of crosses / instead of icons of the saints. The contrast of conditions in which babies of today are birthed is fiercely sad. Many of the dispossessed and barred, the anathema of our meanness, are met in these pages. Love for plants and animals decorates much cynicism: nature / finds its way through dark / in the shroud / of a sleeping sun.

We end with an unashamed perspective on so much foolishness and foible that we long to address, yet usually suppress. Anathema is a great gift, opening the careful shutters to breathe in some cutting, unfiltered atmosphere, to admit, acknowledge and at last mature, perhaps develop compassion for ourselves and for all else, and to grasp at second birth / and hope what blossoms / will be kinder. This is perhaps the antidote for anathema.

The reading of this book may take you through the wringer, but it is incredibly valuable, this wonderfully enlightening collection by a gifted, eloquent and very brave bard.

~Katherine L. Gordon
  July 2009

Anathema: Poems Selected & New by Andreas Gripp: Poetry as true, anti-CanLit and Canadian from a review and analysis by Conrad DiDiodato, Poet, Teacher, & Literary Critic Word-Dreamer: Poetics

Gripp's poetry is ... primarily writing that can be appreciated through stylized and meaningful expression, faithful always to a core of sinsible literary values and, above all, to the reader who looks for them in poetry ... combin[ing] dramatic format, lyricism and allusion and yet despite its "classicism," the most accessible language, all of which makes for a pretty interesting poetics.

... the affect of reading Anathema can be to find some rather surprising twists to stock literary themes of nature, death, and the act of writing itself. Gripp is a poet who can expertly disclose all those curious windings of the imagination at work ...

Gripp, of course, alienates himself from a CanLit verse culture that demands easy-to-get disposable work. [His] taste is for lyrical expression, balanced phrasing and the infusion of an engaging authorial presence.

~Conrad DiDiodato
  August 2009



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