Full disclosure: the book I’m about to review was gifted to me, and is dedicated to our mutual dearly departed friend, Theresa Antonia, may she rest in peace.
In the past 18 months, I’ve discovered, and with great pleasure, published the work of poet and human rights advocate Ann Tweedy, who, in my opinion, needs to be read by every poet and lover of poetry in the world right now. While I’m more familiar with her recent work, it was a joy to dive into her chapbook Beleaguered Oasis (© 2020), reissued by Seven Kitchen Press, as part of their ReBound Series.
Beleaguered Oasis contains fifteen gorgeous poems, divided into three sections; The Body, Many Oases, and Immersed. Within these sections are several poems that tie together the larger theme of the work; a poet going through a journey of self-discovery, with time spent observing, or connecting to nature, or with people, until they are is ready to take up the journey again. Each poem is highly detailed, both in narrative and tone, and at the same time, accessable.
The lyrical and compact quality of the poems in Beleaguered Oasis are what make it an unforgettable gem. Tweedy’s greatest skill, as a poet, shines through every piece, especially in the poem “Lit Rooms”:
It’s night and the small tan moth
presses wings to pane,
enchanted by my light. Above her
the spider who’s spun
along the frame waits.
Did the spider, spinning, dream
of moth-juice, knowing light
would draw one? And who
besides a moth can decipher
the call of incandescence-
whether the promise of nectar
or a moonbeam’s guidance?
Some posit she hovers
in a daze to let her eyes
reorient to darkness. But those
who gaze from lit rooms
watch light pull her and discern
the outlines of a why no smaller or bigger
than the why of any desire that pulses-
unknowing, unknowable-through us.
© 2020 Ann Tweedy
Beleaguered Oasis gives the reader the opportunity to experience, and enjoy Tweedy, as a poet, on a different level. There are poets who will reissue, or republish, the same set of poems in a work they consider seminal, and more likely, sentimental, for a time they hit the mark. There are poets who will refuse to reissue/republish earlier work, as a way to exert control, and to satisfy their ego. Tweedy is neither one of these, and Beleaguered Oasis is a testament to the poet she started out as, and who she will ultimately become.
Beleaguered Oasis, © 2020 Ann Tweedy, Seven Kitchens Press (https://sevenkitchenspress.com), 21 pages, ISBN 978-1-949333-64-0, $9.00
© 2020 marie c lecrivain