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TITLE: THE LARGENESS OF RESCUE
AUTHOR: Eva Tihanyi
PUBLISHER: Inanna Publications
Forthcoming April 2016
REVIEWER: Candice James
It is extremely difficult indeed to find words strong enough to describe the wonderful offering of powerful poetry presented in this book “The Largeness of Rescue” by Eva Tihanyi. I fell under her spell from the beginning and was more mesmerized with each turn of the page. Elegant, haunting and beautiful, there is an echoing heartbeat behind every word.
“Psychic Readings” is a poem of nostalgia and conquest. Recalling early days into middle age: ‘If you line up all the places/ where you’ve lived, you will see/ a map of your life.’ Then there is the realization, as challenges present themselves, just how close the fear of failure is to the fear of success: ‘Although heights terrify you,/ you will climb a great tree./ The view will change you/ but you will be stranded,/ unable to come down./ Your greatest hope/ will be rescue./Your greatest fear/ will be rescue also.’ Tihanyi eloquently states the unobvious obvious, the unconscious conscious: we are always able to rescue ourselves, whether we choose to or not.
“Eliot Simultaneously” is an imaginative poem placing T.S. Eliot in a myriad of scenes starting off with the lines ‘Imagine T. S. Eliot walking west on Bloor toward Bay,/ his serious eyes/ hat-shielded from the late afternoon sun,/ the autumnal city/ treacherous around him, the banker poet/ in his waistcoat and newly polished shoes.’ Through her misty lens, Tihanyi allows us to view Eliot in the year 1926 in his Rome days, gin days, and his wife’s madness into his quirkiness and disillusionment with the world as it is and isn’t; and his relentless pursuit of the creative force and embrace of the written word. Always a slave to his writing ‘The world-weary words shoved/ into the closet of irrelevance,/turning and returning in their boxy darkness./ Yet he perseveres: with spoon after spoon stirs the days,/ throws down his glove, hoists the pen.’ I was extremely take with this poem and the wielding of Tehanyi’s pen, so reminiscent of the great T.S Eliot himself.
In the poem “Border Magic” I liked the intangible imagery and oppositions presented: ‘The space between reason/ and the vagaries of love.’; but found myself looking unsuccessfully for an ending or something akin to a finish. Nevertheless, the poem did please. “Where the Year Takes Us” turns the mundane passage of time into a mystical chant: “There is nothing but the passing,/ time trapped in melancholy squares/ on calendar pages torn off one by one”. Sometimes life can make us feel so desolate that ‘trapped in melancholy calendar squares’ is the only way to truly describe the separation from self and others. With the clever turn of a phrase and the impact of brevity Tehanyi’s “On the Other Side” allows us to glimpse what we, in essence, can never glimpse in this one-sided reality we all live in.
“What It Is” is quite possibly my favourite poem in the book. I found myself reading this poem over and over again trying to find “the best” couple of lines in the poem. It proved to be an impossible task. Every line in the poem is gold and the ending is absolutely stellar ‘It is destiny’s calligraphy drawn by angels./ the unconsummated stranger in all of us.’; and as A.E. Houseman once said so wistfully ‘And oh ‘tis true, ‘tis true’.
The vivid images painted in “Sea Silk” stand out in sparkling glory in the beginning stanza ‘Delicate as a spider’s web, byssus,/ fabric of pharaohs and emperors,/ shimmers in the sun like gold.’ Tihanyi’s ability to open our mind’s eye to new horizons of vibrant and glowing colour is truly amazing.
The poem “You Ask” is a brilliant and illuminating work of literary art following art from its inception throughout the ages encompassing a powerful description of poetry: ‘each word ignites like a tiny sun/ and light changes everything.’ This hauntingly beautiful poem is a perfect ending to this scintillating collection of poetry.
Tihanyi’s superlative command of language and the sequined shimmer of her vivid imagery paint a masterpiece of words on a satin tapestry of emotion. She has the ability to lasso emotions with the filaments of her mind and dissolve them in the fire of her eloquence as she burns them into poetic verse page after page after page. She wields her pen like Van Gogh wielded his brush. This is the real thing!
About the Poet: Eva Tihanyi was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1956 and came to Canada at the age of six. She has taught at Niagara College since 1989, and currently divides her time between Toronto and Port Dalhousie (St. Catharines). Tihanyi has published eight books of poetry and one short story collection, ‘Truth and Other Fictions’ (Inanna, 2009), which The Globe and Mail hailed as “an impressive and promising debut…a wonderfully written collection of takes on the elusiveness of truth. Tihanyi is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada and the League of Canadian Poets. Her work has appeared in over 40 periodicals and in numerous anthologies.
About the Reviewer: Candice James is in her 2nd three year term as Poet Laureate of New Westminster, She is past president of both Royal City Literary Arts Society and Federation of British Columbia Writers; a full member of League Canadian Poets; and author of eleven poetry books: the first A Split In The Water” (Fiddlehead Poetry Books 1979); and the most recent are “Merging Dimensions” (Ekstasis Editions 2015). She was awarded the prestigious Bernie Legge Artist Cultural Award 2015 and also the recipient of Pandora’s Collective Citizenship award 2015. Further Info at: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candice James and www.candicejames.com