B.W. Powe’s New Book, Ladders Made of Water, Reviewed by Robert K. Logan


You’ll find Included in this collection a selection of public presentations and thoughts on our spiritual and ecological crises, including reflections on Jacques Ellul, Simone Weil, Teilhard de Chardin, Marshall McLuhan and Anne Carson, lyrics for an unfinished rock opera, a dramatic homily on Harry Potter, meditations on Dune Part One, Nomadland and Eternals, poems and the parable “Manna”, a Mash-Up of Aphorisms and Fragments, and Biographical Pages on his in-process
work Mysteria.

POW – POWE – POW – Powerful – B.W. Power-full:
A Review of B.W.’s Ladders Made of Water
By Robert K. Logan, Editor of New Explorations

B.W. Powe has done it once again with his new collection of poems, mini-essays, stories, parables, song lyrics, meditations on cinema and our catastrophic moments —questions about our nomad experience of being hurtled into new evolutionary stages. In this short book, Powe takes us to an apocalyptic edge. It’s a step—a streaming—beyond The Charge in the Global Membrane.

As soon as I read the announcement of Ladders Made of Water, I ordered the book and read it in one shot once I received it. You will do the same when you receive the book. It is full of fascinating poetry, poetic images and short scholarly and intellectualy probing essays that both enlighten and delight. A second reading that I read more slowly lingering on the poetry instead of blasting through the text in the excitement of receiving his book revealed more insights.  This is a book you will read more than once or twice as I already have.

What is interesting in the book is the B.W. combines his academic scholarship with his poetic sensibility. And not just because this book contains both scholarly essays and poems, but because the academic text is poetic and the poetry contains insights into the nature of media and communications. In fact, it is hard to discern which are the scholarly essays and which are the poems. They morph and bleed into each other.

Consider this example from the essay, A Presentation for the Recalling Jacques Ellul Conference, which contains these three poetic passages: among many others:

From Section 9.
I’m fractalling (is there such a word? I suspect: soon) …
Flight into associating, meaning these links may not be direct—
Setting fractals to float…
And maybe the fragments will sift or roll together—

From section 10.
Ellul, Teilhard, McLuhan, Weil, Carson.
I’m running out of time to talk about them.
Do fractals run out? They spiral on, forward.
Do I aim to convince? I have only moments to relay.

From section 11.
In the five the fire of inward metaphysical vision, and the need to see, counters what can’t be wholly grasped when the present surges so fast we can’t name it. They knew (and know) the world rushes indomitably. The inner fire fades; the world, irrevocably altered in the eschatological story of technology, continues to transit forward. By this I mean the five sensed how our inventions throw us into…
I leave these sentences in an ellipse…

Here is a poem, Fastened to Crystal Tempests and an Aurora Borealis, in which its 8th verse is a mini essay:

We live in a forgetting disunion dissent are part of democracy if we agree to continue with its uncertainties its enigmas its unwritten protocols of trust its
willingness to allow contradictions and ambiguities its paradoxes and its nuances its constant balancing of competing concerns its contingent sense of freedom where we loosely agree to never allow definitions to be totalizing and final

So what is this book Ladders Made of Water?

Poetry – Yes;
Essays – Yes;
Hybrid  –  Yes;
And an exhilarating trip as you climb B.W. Powe’s Ladders Made of Water –Yes.

See also York University’s YFile Campus information Newsletter: tinyurl.com/5n6s63fj

B.W. Powe

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