World Poetry from Across the Pond
by Mankh (Walter E. Harris III)
(also printed in Northport Journal)
Whether writing about America, Spain, Greece, or her home turf in the United Kingdom, Geraldine Green’s poetry is lush and lyrical. You feel your feet surely planted on this earth while your consciousness floats like a spirit eavesdropping or lending an invisible hand. Hers is a poetry full of concern and compassion for the common folk, which includes those quirky relatives.
Green has read and been published in the UK, USA, Italy and Greece, and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Cumbria, Freelance Creative Writing Tutor, and Associate Editor of Poetry Bay, a Long Island based online journal. She recently submitted her Practice-based Creative Writing PhD titled, ‘An Exploration of Identity and Environment through Poetry.’
Ms. Green will be on a mini-tour of the New York poetry scene, giving readings at the esteemed Walt Whitman Birthplace Association on Saturday, September 3, both the Bradstock Festival on Long Island and the Jujomukti Tea Lounge in Manhattan on Sunday, September 4, and HHS Poetry Barn on Friday, September 16. She will read predominantly from her new manuscript, The Other Side of the Bridge, as well as from a newly begun project, Salt Road. Her previous two collections are, Passio and The Skin, both from Flarestack Publications with editor Charles Johnson.
In The Other Side of the Bridge Green’s use of language is reminiscent of mythic folk tales, as she portrays with shamanic vision the stories of people and places. Green depicts Mother Earth as raw, powerful and organically sensuous. In “Gather at the river” she writes: "whoosh of the river grown into a flood like a pregnant woman's broken waters.” Yet, in "Looking beyond the plain" water is comforting: "the Irish Sea swings its greenblue hammock."
With a poem titled “Our private opera of rain” she brings the natural world right up to the car “coming home from a gig somewhere, Liverpool or Manchester/ when we’re delicious with sleep and wine and the buzz of an audience.” Not to worry, this talented poet is quite awake at the wheel of poetic technique and her heartfelt reading style gives the audience much to buzz about.
Wherever she is, Green connects with the roots and ancestry, the stories and sense-memories that shape a place and thus its people. "I go to my dressing table, pick up the earrings bought in New Mexico, wonder whose hand hit the copper seam that made them." In America she also gives recognition to the local Native trails, such as “Caumsett, Montaukett, Shinnecock,” and powwow dancers in Oklahoma.
Her portrayals of family are charmingly imagistic. “Uncle Owen” is "in the back kitchen playing his saxophone/ him with a grin as wide as a/ ten pin bowling alley.”
As a poet Green pushes the status quo of imagery and metaphor; one feels that she is both taking wild linguistic risks yet knowing exactly where she is going. In the poem "Aunt Lucy, Brooklyn," the imagery evokes the Christ-like ritualistic way we can all stay connected with those who have passed on:
"in the lunch hour today I ate you
with my Reuben sandwich drank you
in my dry martini on the rooftop garden..."
Geraldine Green’s poems can also convey a blessed and sensual whimsy, as seen in the following line: "I travel your body as an astronaut, searching/ for amazing planets of goodness.”
Whether with short-lined poems, those more lyrical, or sometimes quite lengthy she weaves a holistic poetic tapestry. So filled with the love of the people she knows and meets, the poet wonders, at the end of “Poem of a mole catcher’s daughter,” who the real author might be: "Whose fingers are these typing?/ Whose words?" In any case, it is well worth listening to Geraldine Green read these poems.
© 2003 - 2013 Walter E. Harris III