Impressions of Realty
By Jean-Yves Solinga
($19.95, (7” X 10”) Paperback, 150 pages, including 9 full color photographs)
“Jean-Yves Solinga embraces the world with clear-eyed enthusiasm. There is a kind of joy in these poems, tempered by hard-edged vision. The laughter of women, the art of shipbuilding, music and philosophy, all find their natural place within Solinga’s lines. Solinga casts a cold eye on the past and uses it as a prism for outlining an absolutely modern present. He manages to make the unravelling of complex knots simple, but doesn’t destroy them—he helps us understand how they’re woven. Even the death of Custer takes its place beside the heroism of the Maquisards. All their translucent fibres are woven into a cloth of the fragile past. In Solinga’s hands, grammar doesn’t simply transform speech; it transforms lives, and in doing so refashions the future. This is what poets do: He sees the whole edifice, details it, helps us understand, and convinces us it’s worthwhile. And it’s all done with the delicacy and beauty of interwoven lace. With the history of poetry and painting behind him, Solinga walks alone through the parallel columns of love and beauty, confident, dexterous, sure-footed, almost dancing. His meanings are dappled, like the fields of Provence, like the slopes of Mt. Sainte Victoire. And yet the poems are splendidly fragile, surprising, simple and intricate at once. He’s disinclined to celebrate Pharaohs, instead, he celebrates the workers who built the pyramids with their own hands, and left something of themselves in those long shadows. He values each moment, and sees eternity, not in an hour, but in a single second.”
—W.F. Lantry, PhD., prize-winning author of The Language of Birds and The Structure of Desire.
“The enviably prolific Jean-Yves Solinga returns to us with a new book aptly titled Impressions of Reality – indeed, its cover art is the famous Monet painting “Impression of the Rising Sun.” These new poems are made of the same unabashedly lyrical and rich language that distinguishes all of Solinga’s work. Many of them give off his trademark scent of exotic locales and reverberate with his learned allusions to music, art, and literature. But there is an anxious intensity to many of these new impressions. In their strong ethical framework, they function as the conscience of a flawed and aching world. Some of the best of them riff on classic films, using them as touchstones or points of departure for a mind that is struggling to make sense of life, even as it wryly acknowledges how Quixotic the quest is for meaning and order. The final poem of the book, ‘Life of a Bubble,’ sums up Solinga’s mission in an epiphany that recounts the poet’s effort to clear his mind of complexity, while sharing the simple pleasure of his grandchildren’s delight in blowing bubbles. It is a worthy mission and a beautiful poem.”
—Christie Williams, M.C. and Member of the Board of Directors of The Arts Café in Mystic, CT.
This Side of Illusion
Darken world of unreeling pops and hisses.
Finalized comfort of last cough from squeaky seats.
Tantalizing undressing of preparatory layers
Of cartoons and world news,
Wetting appetites for center stage big feature.
Cocoon of cinder block walls
Tabernacle of blood-red curtains
Opening unto ‘cycloptic’ pasty whiteness of screen.
Antithetical temporary existence
In a world of tortuous stories,
Unconventional cultures and leanings.
Wild beasts and wilder inner thoughts
Exploding on the screen.
The possible and its opposite co-existing
In dreamy incestuous realities.
Avidly drinking, in visual elixirs, intoxicating potions
Made of surprising titillations from so-called moral tales.
Escapist germs from the Petri dish of the human condition:
Those found in the hardness of realities.
And hidden ones of children’s tales.
Hoping till the end for that happy ending,
Disappearing at the rate of sweetness of Bazooka bubble gum:
Quasimodo somehow never waking up to the sounds of swallows
Flying through the cathedral’s towers:
His distorted body having been left to his nightmarish past.
Steadfastly trying to impose a child’s world
Where the green-stone beauty of Esmeralda could transform any repulsion
Into an outward mirror of human worth and happiness.
Construction and deconstruction of the real and imagined.
Of the now and the forever.
Imagining beyond the possible and warranted
That other side of imagination.
Finding ourselves back on the velour of our theatre,
Sitting on this side of the screen,
Prologue to the long walk back home
Among the dull familiarities of the city street.
Homage to childhood escapism and passion of watching movies on huge theatre screens. And thoughts on the physical divide that used to exist in large movie theatres where these screens acted as a symbolic barrier between realities.