Carl Sandburg, US poet and Pulitzer Prize winner, writes: 'Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away'. That is both true and false. Poetry is in one form an engagement with the Invisible, seeking to give it tangible expression. It is also a recognition of the hard facts of life; at once an act of disclosure, a reaching out in empathy, a sketching of a map pointing to our place in the scheme of things.
There is no guarantee that poetry will make sense. Why should it? It can, however, communicate our human condition even if it evades our understanding. 'There is poetry', John Cage wrote, 'as soon as we recognise we possess nothing'. Poetry is necessary food that sustains us through time, through a journey of dispossession and discovery.
The poems in Turning in Time invite a dialogue that seeks to push aside surface debris to capture hidden depths in our daily experience. A turn away from the obvious in order to advance reasons to look ahead hopefully. A quest to identify a source of light that can lead us on.
To be a poet is to be a pilgrim sharing food with fellow travellers. It is always good to share a meal together.
Religious/non-religious. Sacred/profane. Formal/free. Mythic/grounded. Spiritual/practical. All, and none, apply. Denham Grierson's collection will not allow us the easy tricks of made-up taxonomies. The collection just is what it is. And it will not submit to easy characterisations like 'from the heart', or 'rooted in mystery', or 'grounded in experience'. Again, all and none apply. There is work to be done here; no longer by the poet, but by the reader. The poem gains meaning and lives only through the reader's gaze, and the reader's engagement. Then, and only then, is the poem truly happening.
From the Foreword by Karel Reus
Buy Turning in Time: Poems in Search of Home by Denham Grierson from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, BooksDirect.