Escape to Paradise and Other Poetic Fancies - Paperback (Nov. 11, 2009) by Tom
Buy new: $10.50
12 new from $9.92
1 used from $19.70
Get it by Monday, Dec. 6 if you order in the next 18 hours and choose one-day shipping.
Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.
Print at Amazon CA and UK
In this wonderfully common sense type anthology is a collection of 148 poems penned under the name of Tom Howard. John Howard-Reid has himself contributed over 80 plus award-winning poems that describe us everyday in our lives. Out of the 148 poems, the first of several I picked out to tell you about was Pictures at the Gallery which is made up of two parts; the first being his poetic feelings about the famed painting, LaCharmeuse de Serpents (Charm the Snakes) by Henri Rousseau; and, the second is about his feelings about A Lady also by Henri Rousseau. . As a woman I find his choice in comparing snakes and women a little chilling but easy to explain with him being a life-long Bible scholar and his reference to the Garden of Eden.
This kind of poetry is called ekphrasis poetry, which is simply a "description" that is used to refer one art form being used to describe another art form. I like to call this kind of art form as a conversation between two pieces of art. I appreciate being invited into Reid’s mind as he use his poetic words to mirror Rousseau’s secret thoughts and emotions when painting these two famed pieces of art. Below we find Reid describing LaCharmeuse de Serpents, (Charm the Snakes). I suggest to enjoy his poetry to look up both paintings and have them near when reading. What a trip into an artist’s mind!
Exotic, imaginative, or laughably immature?
Scintillatingly surrealistic or jovially jejeune (gay boy)
Or painstakingly primitive, charmingly pure
Yet a waywardly scenic and biblical sojourn
In the Garden of Eden? Rousseau’s claim to
Acclaim devolved on numerous paths, some
Artistically illiterate, some sensual in aim to
Color the senses, imprison the eye in a hum
Of vertiginous forests and vivid, exotic line.
Toledo! So starkly livid in its nightmarish virtuosity;
Or shall I choose A Lady so beautiful in melancholy?
Toledo? A mirror image of a soul grounded in hell or
A Lady whose eyes capture serenity’s sad sweet spell
Or perhaps merely the burden of lost youth? In truth,
Lady demands a graceful charity, her benign attempt
To elicit sympathy almost painful in its silent rebuke
Of Age, its cherished yet sorrowfully secretive smile
Forever pondering. The Greek’s intention to flatter or
Detract to inspire sighs or repay a non-existent love.
Another of his poems I really enjoyed was Life. Anybody and everybody can appreciate this simple rendition of life as we all know it. Of all the lines, my favorites are “a room with a view, or no windows at all…a jigsaw, puzzle, a horizon obscure.
A burden, a joy, an escape, a prize,
A dream, a hope, a welcome surprise,
A phantom, emotion, passion or mist,
Selfless action, theatre, comedy or tryst,
A prison, an ark, a train hurtling bright,
Carriages lit pink as it circles the night,
A room with a view, or no windows at all,
A cliff-top, a bridge, a tunnel or cure,
Jig-saw, puzzle, a horizon obscure,
Synopsis, chronicle, tale never told,
Jacobean storm, cup brimming gold,
Mathematical equation, musical note,
A lifeboat, a moat, a bespoke overcoat.
Another poem I enjoyed was Self-Portrait. It begins The Mirror lies: Am I merely a misquoted minstrel of the senses, a bardic whim of troubled times, of senseless rhyme?...Not the romance of a romantic, but Romance of color, amity and artistry…My poems will revive the discouraged and echo against all carping shields and sibilant tip-toeing…Charm, hope and dreams will once more rule the day!
I would like to mention so many of authors worry and fret over the design of our book covers, even paying others to design them. We should all follow Reid’s lead and simply use our own photographs. I enjoy his pictures of Mother Nature and travels far and wide. He definitely has a photographer’s eye for treasure. His books become art pieces themselves freezing real life in film and history. I highly recommend Escape to Paradise and Other Poetic Fancies by Tom Howard also known as John Howard-Reid. Five Stars for Amazon.
Review by Joyce White
Author of Sculpting the Heart and
Sculpting the Heart’s Poetry while
Conversing with the Masters