Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a British author, Oscar Sparrow, by way of his blogging an eloquent review of one of my books (for which I am forever grateful). Intrigued by his astounding mind and wordsmithery on that review, I treated myself to a copy of his own book from Amazon, to further investigate what I expected to be some pretty amazing poetry. His work has far exceeded my expectations, in fact, and I would also rank him among the greats in terms of the spoken word. He is indeed mesmerizing. If there is any doubt, listen to him read Theo Marzials' poem "A Tragedy", purportedly the world's "worst poem":
Oscar's website is: http://oscarsparrow.wordpress.com/
I posted the following review of his book to the Amazon site.
While reading Oscar Sparrow's book of poetry, "I Threw A Stone", I felt as if I had traveled into the inner workings of the author’s mind – a vast, impatient, exquisitely inquisitive mind. Within, it seems any moment can be caught and brought to light, and by the act of being caught, turned into something palpable and permanent. Expertly wrought and forged from the authentic iron of experience, the author's tight, terse lines are rife with vivid imagery that appear culled from his daily life, yet are transformed into something mysterious, surprising, and utterly profound. The fact that the book comes with an mp3 of the author reading these poems aloud allows the reader to achieve an even higher level of nirvana while reading. Amazing.
Cutting across it are ruminations on nature, mortality, love and society, and we will not, perhaps, understand a few of the book’s private allusions and might even be perplexed, but we are left with the notion that we have just heard some timeless truth from the lips of the gods and are humbled to merely be in their presence. Like dreams, these poems are filled with sharp dog-leg turns in the middle of what is expected, so to read Sparrow is to simply trust and allow oneself to be carried along.
The author could never be accused of cranking out fat, corpulent poems that expire from their own heft. This writing is thoughtful, lean, nuggety and deep, a jab to all the senses. A poet who can turn a roadside car problem into high art at the altar is worthy of respect, indeed. An ordinary crow becomes a stark shiv of terror, yet one could find his bittersweet paean to Oscar Wilde to be mildly amusing. Phrases like "herring red alert", "curled and furled to the knot of your dread", "a moon frost of tiny sufferings". Then "a world squeezes out from its tube of pigment" and there you have it. These words will echo in your mind long after you put the book down for the night...and all the next day. Here are a few more just to tease: "the glint and sweep of shoal and hands on nets", "drinkers piss al fresco unperturbed", "What does the me ever know of the you?" Delicious.
Readers attracted to courageous, erudite poems with existential undercurrents will find a great deal here to love. Wilde and Edith Piaf would be proud, indeed, of their namesake. In "I Threw A Stone", we must trust in the power of refreshing wit, spare elegance and poetic inclusiveness, just as we would trust in the force of a river that catches roots, branches, and soil as it moves across the earth. Oscar Sparrow is that force.
I THREW A STONE