Thursday, February 21, 2008

Christopher Brennan, A Great Poet (Review)

Who was Christopher Brennan?

For the most part, a forgotten poet (other than for Australia), who was born 1870, and died 1932; his work was more on the mythological side of the spectrum it seems; born in New South Wales, Australia. His main work, which I would like to bring to surface here, was Poems: 1913, which he published in 1914. He wrote several works, and seems to have influence many poets in Australia, perhaps like Juan Parra De Riego, in the Andes of Peru, whom most people do not know, but did some great things for poetry—creating motion.
In 1888, he, Brennan, entered the University of Sydney (I had visited Sydney back in 1971). His father was a merchant, and his first published work was in 1897; he was a librarian and lecturer, similar to our Minnesota Poet, Robert Bly, whom translated many books in Spanish and German.
The poem, “Autumn” has a shell of haunting to it, he uses such images as Clark A. Smith, Robert Howard or George Sterling would. Autumn is the best of all seasons to me, especially living in Minnesota.
In the poem, “Because He would ask me why I loved her,” once can see a nice rhyme schema, and fine architecture. He seems to shift a little in this poem, to a clearer premise, and a tinge of philosophy than many of his era poets, I like that.
In his poem, “Fire in the Heavens,” almost reminds me of Mary Renault’s work, on the Greek world, although Brennan shifts to Egyptian crypt like imagery, and descriptions. He is a worth while poet to read, even if one has to shift away from Free Verse.
Of the poems I’ve thus far mentioned, I would prefer “I Am Shut out of Mine own Heart,” a lovely poem, with skill, reverberation, and character. He was in love with a certain lady, and here you can get the mood of it, although he is not famous for his embedded feelings into poetry per se, better put, not emotional, yet he seems to get the message across in this romantic poem.
In “Sweet Silence after Bells,” I don’t care for that poem much, but it is a worthwhile poem to read; we often push certain poems aside because we have not experienced what the poet has, and this may be one of the cases.
In the poem, “The Yellow Gas,” Christopher Brennan produces many images, perhaps close to some of George Sterling’s poetic images—who is the master I believe of imagery, but seems to be more connecting and clear than George.
In his poems he does not get into radicalism, or nationalism, like so many poets do today, and half not knowing the issues at hand, it is refreshing; I like Robert Bly’s poetry, but he does this too much, and saturates his books with it, as did Ambrose. He has a touch of William Blake in his poetry also, depending of the poem of course.
At one time, Brennan was facing the issue of joining the priesthood; this also can be seen in his poetry (of faith, and metaphysical lights, embedded into his poetry).
In “Spring Breezes,” we see him shift his style to a more of a free verse style, but does not lose his rhyme schema, his stanzas are not exact, but he gets a good result, effect from the poem. All in all, I enjoy his poetry, and am anxious to read additional books by him in the future, if I can get a hold of them.

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