Review: The Architecture OF ME


THE ARCHITECTURE OF ME: Selected Poems by William Sovern, Wasteland Press, USA, 2003, pp. 78, $ 12, ISBN 0-9724289-9-2.

The Architecture of Me is a beautiful collection of William Sovern’s remarkable and memorable poems. The poem ‘The Apollinaire Blues’ reveals his skilful mastery of style: “in my / daydreams / green fields / green fields of children / balls fling / about.”

Sovern’s poetic technique is marked by innovation and experimentation. His poems reveal ‘hard, dry image’, instead of vague, facile and hollow style of the Georgian poets of the early 20th century. Consequently, Sovern succeeds in creating poems full of sharpness and preciseness. He writes about Salvador Dali, the famous surrealist artist: “he \ was in\ my dream \ last night \ Picasso was \ there \ too”. The following lines show that Sovern is able to create ‘pictorially sensuous’ style revealing the effect of painting on his poetry:

“Salvador / sat strapped / by two sea serpents / to the hood of the / bus with the sculpture” (‘The Salvador Dali Blues’, p 18).

There can hardly be a better description of surrealism:

“Picasso sat / in the crimson / lipped back seat / with a nude and / a musician playing / Dylan on a mandolin / the melody / floating / in the translucent / velvet air” (p. 19).

                     Another remarkable poem ‘The Postmodern Artist Blues’ seems to be a conscious reaction against the sterility of contemporary values:


              i will set

              my artwork



                         (p. 25)

                   Sovern’s imagination seems to be haunted by his quest of Peace and Beauty. The poem 911 captures the mood of horror amid the turmoil of naked barbarism. By the use of refrain, the poet’s words and thoughts seem to sing together: ” planes \ have always \ been \ crashing \ bombs \ have always \ been \ falling…\ but \ this was \ surreal be \ burned to death \ or jump from \ the 105 \ floor”, p. 69. Dryden remarked: “By the harmony of sounds we allure the soul“. By a deft use of repeating several times “planes \ have always \ been \ crashing”, Sovern is creating rhythmical effects and music of a full orchestra. Sovern’s first collection of poems The Architecture of Me leaves no doubt in my mind that he is destined to become a powerful force in contemporary world poetry.


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