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Elana Wolff: B.W. Powe’s Poems “feel oracular”

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Writing for Brick Books, Elana Wolff praises Guernica writer B.W. Powe as a poet who is “oceanic – in intellectual breadth and interest, spiritual vision, and in pure unshielded feeling”. Wolff describes Powe as a radically eclectic writer, “billed as a philosopher, poet, scholar, and novelist. He calls himself a neo-romantic, hyper-modern transcendentalist, and the mouthful fits”. Powe’s poetry expresses this eclecticism by borrowing from an extensive range of writers including Baudelaire, Neruda, Beckett, and Proust, but also from aspects of “the wired world of global connectivity and vibrational ESP” (demonstrating Powe’s early tutelage under Marshall McLuhan) as well as “a clearing in the woods the pages of a fable”. Wolff recalls how she first encountered Powe in two poems that appeared in Exile Quarterly that struck Wolff for being “rapturous, self-revealing, un-ironic”. Wolff compares Powe to thinker William Irwin Thompson, especially in terms of Thompson’s The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light. Powe’s poetry articulates the ways that Thompson’s philosophical, transcendentalist thought resonated with Wolff in such lines as “Some books crack you open so that you’re the one who’s read”. Powe’s poems demonstrate that “power comes from candour and ardour”, and in the vein of Thompson, “spirit-light – imagination”. His poems contain “a truthfulness…I want to glean from and believe”.

B.W. Powe’s newest collection, Where Seas and Fables Meet: Parables, Aphorisms, Fragments, Thought was released by Guernica Editions in Spring 2015. This book blends parables, aphorisms, dreams, fantasies, witticisms, puns, vignettes, and prose poems in a meditative and often passionate way.

B.W. Powe is also the author of A Climate Charged, The Solitary Outlaw, A Tremendous Canada of Light, Outage, These Shadows Remain, Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye: Apocalypse and Alchemy and Light Onwords, Light Onwards. His book The Unsaid Passing was a finalist for the ReLit Prize.

Elana Wolff has written four collections of poetry including the F.G. Bressani Prize-winning You Speak to Me in Trees, and the bilingual Helleborus & Alchémille, which was awarded the John Glassco Prize for Translation in 2014 (translator: Stéphanie Roesler).

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