Editor-Publisher: Stanley H. Barkan
Publishing House: Cross Cultural Communications, Merrick, New York, 2011
Photographs: Melissa Goese-Goble, Patricia Holt, Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, Linda Parker
Available from Cross-Cultural Communications, 239 Wynsum Avenue, Merrick, New York, 11566-4725, USA. Price $25 (hardback) $15 (paperback)
|Launch of 'Poems from a Cabin on Big Sur' (Photo © David Gill 2011)|
'I went on daily walks, alone, letting the island-like world seep into my very being ...'
Peter Thabit Jones, Preface, p.9
We were delighted to visit the stunning Studio Gallery of Swansea artist, Nick Holly, last Friday for the launch of Poems from a Cabin on Big Sur by Peter Thabit Jones. The work in this sparkling new collection brings us - in the apposite words of Vince Clemente - a vision of Peter, 'the man on Big Sur [observing] with the eyes of maturity, but [feeling] with the open heart of the boy on Kilvey.'
Big Sur, on the Central Coast of California, is adorned with the stunning combination of the St Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It is a place well-loved by writers and those who seek natural wonder and solitude. Redwood and Monterey Pine adorn this region. It is an area of wide skies and horizons, where the rugged landscape is frequented not only by mountain lions but also by rare amphibians such as the California Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus).
In his Preface, Peter alludes to the fact that his spell as Writer-in-Residence in the Cabin on Big Sur followed in the tradition of a line of other writers and artists who had been equally influenced by this extraordinary wilderness (in the sense of 'expanse of wildness' rather than 'area of emptiness'). Jack Kerouac's novel, Big Sur, (1962), for example, arose out of his time in the same cabin.
Many of us dream of living the Robinson Crusoe experience. Most of us occasionally manage to hunt out small corners 'far from the madding crowd'. Writers like Dylan Thomas and R.S. Hawker beavered away in huts perched high above estuary and ocean. I like to write with one eye on the keyboard and the other on the wide sweep of Swansea Bay, as it spreads out beneath my window. Few of us, though, unlike Peter, have truly experienced the life of a poet in isolation - for real.
It is with these thoughts in my head that I plan to approach this collection as I read it more carefully and alongside the accompanying photographs in the days to come. I have already encountered poems that invite the reader to glimpse into the 'window's picture', as it conveys the poet's vision in terms of a dual sense of the 'so-close ocean' and the 'shores of the mind'.
- Peter Thabit Jones
- Forthcoming: International Poetry Festival, June 2011 (organised by The Seventh Quarry
and Cross-Cultural Communications, New York - more details soon)