Art & Life

by Gerald Locklin. Pariah Press 604 Hawthorne Avenue East, St. Paul Minnesota, 55101. Press Editor Richard D. Houff/Leo Kuelbs, Associate Editor. 22 pages.

Book Review by

Appropriately titled the poems in this small book by Gerald Locklin spring form visual art and from art them to all about life. Perhaps this could be all of this phase of Locklin’s career. This is good. Usually his poems are short and ironic. Perhaps those sarcastic and humorous poems are the ones you recall. However, there is another Locklin, a deeply pondering, sophisticated and plain smart Locklin, and a Locklin behind the mask of Toad and tons of cream sherry and beer. This Locklin is represented in this small book. It opens with two long Locklin poems, “Bloomsbury” and “San Ramon Pastoral,” and concludes with “Day Trips,” which defines succinctly where the poet is at this stage in his life. The magic of Locklin’s poems is that they not only define his space but the reader’s emotional space also. So does then “Day Trips,” defines a mature relationship where comfort is measurable in love’s longevity and my love’s tolerance and history. In each of Locklin’s collections there are poems that define Locklin’s poetry. In this book, “Degas Between Ballets,” is such a poem. What is this poem about: It is about: degas painting dancers preparing for their art, which is the ballet. Oh course, it is all practice, rehearsal, the unbeautiful. So it is with writing and living. It is all unbeautiful and unglamorous, and routine. However, for a brief few seconds, the endless mundane existence of humanity and writing, sparks a few seconds perhaps one second where beauty appears and is then done. It is those seconds that Locklin explains and is so able to capture and hold for display, so that all might ponder and wonder at the power of art, and poetry, to transform our too very ordinary vapid lives into wonder.