A reader once wrote in a public forum that she was looking for a book of dark poetry, but she didn’t want Edgar Allan Poe because he scared her and his writing style just wasn’t “pretty” to her. She expressed that she wanted to read some poetry that was dark, but still beautiful. Now, with no disrespect to Poe’s craft, one can sympathize with this woman being that there is very little poetry that “straddles the fence” between dark and beautiful. It seems that one finds either the pious elegance of Emily Dickinson and James Joyce, or the morbid melancholy of Charles Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe. Furthermore, it seems that many poets are typecast into their exclusive realms and, while the genius of these poets is indisputable, many readers may find some unexpected variety refreshing.
Brandon Gene Petit’s “Ab Antiquo, Ab Aeterno”, a rather unconventional blend of rhyming, free verse, and prose-poetry, seems to fill a niche for those readers who are craving an exploration of dark emotions yet do not want to stray too far from aesthetically tasteful images. While there are mentions of death, cemeteries, and nightmare forces, there are also mentions of beautiful gardens, twilight forests, arduous love and nature themes. The beauty of a private heaven… the dark mystery of the ocean… the wonders of the human mind and the ailments of the human heart… all are woven into a web of unique perspectives on the elements of our world, combining a dynamic variety of ideas into a package that one could still arguably define as a deeper, darker form of poetic expression.
In Petit’s bittersweet universe, love rivals obsession, dreams converge with nightmares, innocence quarrels with sin and nature provokes ambivalence. The entire sequence of poems seems to tell a crudely synchronized story of a man who wrestles with the riddles of the past, chases muses that remain aloof, questions his spiritual karma and strives to avoid the temptations of anger and contempt. At the same time, it drifts from the mortal experience and illustrates dark forests, lantern-lit rooms, cobblestone streets and dynamic dreamscapes. With a harmonious balance of sobering reality and eclectic fantasy, “Ab Antiquo, Ab Aeterno” acts as a double-edged sword… boasting a unique brand of rogue philosophy mixed with the poison kiss of neo-gothic romanticism. Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, a daydreamer or a cynic, “Ab Antiquo, Ab Aeterno” offers miniature storylines – told through both prosaic and rhythmic verse – that should stimulate a variety of readers.
"My hand dips yet again into that treasure chest of woe, whim and wonder; that box bottomless with inviting eccentricities. Pandora did you see the breadth of this forbidden beauty? Did you inhale the phantasmal froth that I welcome like an autumn draft? Mortal men were wrong to chastise you on your discovery; you are not a burden as they say. I peer into that box with confidence and curiosity, as you did, and I see nightmares the same as dreams." - excerpt from Dream Logue Two, p. 51
Comforting like listening to the 'Blues'
I am by no means an experienced reader in this genre. I'm not sure I can even define the difference between poetry and prose. I was, however, somehow drawn to read this book and quite intrigued by the title. I wasn't sure what to expect exactly, but I found this author's work to be highly intelligent, insightful and his writing very sophisticated. It made one stop and think. If an author's words can paint a picture in the reader's mind, he is successful. Mr. Petit has accomplished this with Ab Antiquo, Ab Aeterno. Albiet somewhat on the dark side, some may call it depressing, I found this book to be of great comfort as I recently experienced a personal loss. It's not easy for me to express into words as I am not a writer. This book made me feel the same way that listening to "Blues" music does - at peace and just better. My favorite line from the book (Laburnine Lullaby), "Sleep remembers, and sleep forgets."