Liam Ferney Reviews Cassie Lewis

22 March 2017

‘Living is a poem, / ask any animal’, Lewis advises (‘Bridges’). This resonates with the final piece of advice Forbes offered his troika of young poets:

but just remember 
if you take care of the art
                               your sister, Life
takes care of the human part.

Art as sibling to Life, a source of solace and protection. This idea is part of the freshness, simplicity, and most importantly, the urgency that marks Lewis’s work. Of course most poets use poetry to understand the world and the epistemological and ontological questions that haunt Lewis are the same ones we find in the work of her peers, but for Lewis these concerns are more often unadorned and closer to the surface. She is a more nakedly lyric poet. While her poetics are sophisticated, they are uncomplicated. The potential of poetics and metapoetic questions are critical to her work – they do so much of the heavy lifting in any good poetry, that they have to be – but when compared to other poets, say Farrell or Lilley, these questions are further in the background of Lewis’s mode. While those poets are exemplars of exploration and experimentation, in contrast, Lewis’s credo is simpler:

Don’t enlist your time on earth
just love it
and the four humours will let you speak your name. (‘I Am’)

And in just loving her time on earth, and in revelling in the awesome power of the elements, she writes poems that help us find our place in the world.

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