Tuesday, May 16, 2006



from Series Magritte by Mark Young
(Moria Poetry, Chicago, 200_)

Mark Young is a New Zealander, now living in Australia, who has several poetry books to his credit. Young's strong connection to the international poetry scene is demonstrated -- at least in part -- by his two popular blogs: Series Magritte and Pelican Dreaming [which recently retired in favor of his current blog, Gamma Ways]. His latest book of poetry is inspired by the work of artist Rene Magritte. Like the artist, Young's poetry is edgy and unconventional, its impact on readers often unexpected.

"The Hunters at the Edge of Night" is a prime example of the unexpected impact experienced when reading Young's poetry. I quote this poem in its entirety:

Usually he evaded the hunters
with little trouble. Only when
the dogs joined in
did he feel trepidation. They
spoke a different language. It seemed
more familiar to him
though at first he understood it
less. Finally he stopped running,
covered himself in mud &
became invisible. He learnt
the hierarchy of the dogs, the
patterns & cycles of their
behaviour. He killed the alpha male
just after the dominant female
came on heat then caught & coupled
with her. Now they hunt the hunters.

Convoluted thoughts made visible are a hallmark of Young's work. I quote one excerpt from "Memory", memorable thoughts and words coupled with dramatic cadence:

Antiquities weep
blood. In the
Byzantine piazzas
of the labyrinth
pigeons pause
& whisper

In "The Song of Love" Young addresses Magritte's art and one person's unexpected response to thoughts made visible:

…this is the
siren song of
love that
fifty years before
made Yves Tanguy
jump from
a moving tram

that made
say he saw
thought made visible
for the first
time. Making the
but not
impossible. Pictures
within pictures.
Songs within
songs. Of
love & other

Humans out of step with reality, feeling their way through the "yellow fog of melancholy" while contemplating the juxtaposition of things is key to Young's poetry, just as it was to Magritte's art. His poetry is invigorating and addictive.


Laurel Johnson is a Retired Registered Nurse and the author of four books. She is Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review; Review Editor for New Works Review; Staff Reviewer for Shadow Poetry Quill Quarterly Review and occasional submitting reviewer for The Wandering Hermit Review and Irish News and Entertainment. Her poetry and prose can be found online in various literary e-zines. She lives in Nebraska with her husband of forty years.


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