Saturday 29 February 2020

For 2020, the StAnza Blog is hosting DURA – the Dundee University Review of the Arts – who as reviewers in virtual residence on the StAnza Blog will post excerpts from their selection of reviews of titles by poets on the StAnza 2020 programme, including this one in today’s blog. The full review can be read on their website at  https://dura-dundee.org.uk/category/poets-stanza-2019-reviews/. Written by staff and students, DURA is keen to promote the diversity of artists and art forms in the UK context, supporting especially (albeit non-exclusively) independent cinema outlets, exhibitions, theatre, film and publishing. 

Maitreyabandhu, After Cézanne, reviewed by Jenny Gorrod

After Cezanne deals with the painter’s struggle to realise his revolutionary method of painting, that is to paint the act of seeing. It also charts his friendships with such luminaries as Zola, Rilke and Pissaro. A foreword by Christopher Lloyd (Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, 1988 – 2005), claims that ‘Cezanne had a profound knowledge of classical literature and of French authors. For many years he was on good terms with the novelist Emile Zola and if he had not chosen to be a painter he could have been a poet’. This sets the tone for a collection of poems that delves into the act of painting, the imagined feelings of Cezanne’s sitters and the composition of his still lives, with powerful effect.

In ‘The Apple’s Progress’, the poet focuses on the spatial relationships between the still life’s objects; it’s fruit, bottle, cups and saucers, against its background cloth and dresser. The act of looking here is almost forensic in its piercing observation:

This orange, if it is an orange, finding
its necessary weight. This lemon turned
towards the orange, which is so emphatically
full-face. This propped up apple almost erotic
in curvaceousness and stem-end. This distance –
intimate, standoffish – between the apple
and a second lemon. This fellowship of fruit,
these colours conversing and apart.