"Cosmic Purr" reviewed by Grady Harp of Poets & Artists magazine
Grady Harp, reviewer for "Poets & Artists" magazine, has the following to say about the "Cosmic Purr":
Difficult to believe that this is the first published volume of the poetry of Aaron Poochigian who is highly regarded as a translator of classical Greek - including of course all the major Greek poets. And that experience provides the baseline for some of the works in this collection COSMIC PURR - his own response to the poetry of Sappho, the references to the Iliad which are illuminating - but Poochigan goes far further than that in this tripartite book. While there is much to admire in this depth of knowledge of Greek mythology and history, for this reader his works that deal with the present, his transplantation to the Midwest flatness of America as a `stranger' of Armenian heritage, that impress more.
Poochigian's poetry style is all the more mesmerizing because of his rhyming pattern: at times it is so occult that the poem must be read again and again to appreciate how subtle and then how obvious is his use of words - kinetic is the adjective that comes to mind. The joy is that his varying patterns of rhyme do not get in the way of the power of his statements but rather emphasize the fact that what he is sharing with us is more the poet's vantage, a position that encourages, no invites, us to see the themes of love and life differently. Some flavors follow:
GRAND FORKS, ND
To make it back home for the holidays,
Interstate Twenty-nine, a black ice glaze:
the smokestacks at the Crystal Sugar Plant
spouting the only mountains, tumbledown
slaughterhouses, barns sagging aslant,
and homesteads under heaps like winter wheat -
scant signs of life, and, goddamn, several feet
of fresh obscurity have blurred the town.
What now? The mustang hung up in a ditch
there's no choice but an outside world in which
hinged things are creaking - car doors, elbows, knees.
Time slows down as in epiphanies.
Breath swirls and swirls away. I had forgotten
snowflakes could float about like this, like cotton
from cottonwoods, like tufts of crystal pollen.
Or elsewhere in these little jewels of poems rises the following one:
You know that heap out on the stoop? The grand
dame hollowed out by meth and destitution?
Well, when I paid the toll, she squeezed my hand
and fed me nonsense I could understand:
`Love in the air's a kite cut form a string.
A red balloon, a sweet sort of pollution,
Changing the world - that's how it seemed in spring.
It smells lie aftershave or some such thing.'
Poochigian indeed has heard the cosmic purr and brings round the circle not only from his vast experience at translating but also from his technical and, more important, his spiritual skill at finding those pathways that lead directly to our heart and mind. He is major, and this is only his beginning.
Grady Harp, June 12