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.
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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
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
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
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
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:
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
... 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.