by Bauke Kamstra
Simplicity is difficult for almost everyone, and especially us writers. We take a simple concept and allow other distractions to crowd in: adjectives and adverbs; side stories and backstories; trifles, that though beautiful, should be cut.
But poet Bauke Kamstra doesn’t fall prey to such dead weight. In his Passion Demands a Vocabulary of Desire, Vol. 3, he exerts a breathtaking discipline of 1 idea + few words = a thought that will stick with you all day.
—I can still fight this
my legs strong
(if weak in the knees)
& it yet lies
beyond my grasp
for how can you hold
Because I don’t know the poet personally, I can’t tell if the succinctness of his poetry came first, followed by the collection’s secondary title — 101 Tweets to Inspire Your Followers — or vice versa. I suspect the former, with the latter capitalizing on what people can relate to.
What I know, however, is that for me, poetry is abstract art. I have to find an artist whose abstraction speaks to me in a language I understand, which I find that to be true for this poet’s verse. His choice and combination of each poem’s few words sing in my head, rather than confuse me.
—a held remark
stiff in the craw
a stone in the belly baked
at oven temperatures you know
I must let it go so I run
into the wood.—
The abstractness of poetry in general comes in all textures, from soft to bed-of-nails harsh. I’m fondest of the comfort level this poet from Nova Scotia exudes: a firmness that drives out the sentimental to leave a form of salt residue like that along the ocean. In other words, a rough natural beauty. Because all too often when dealing with themes of passion, desire and love, the temptation to rose-color the human experience proves irresistible. Not so with these poems, which leave me feeling true in a windswept, scoured way.
Nicely don, Bauke Kamstra!
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