A Review of B.W.Powe’s Ladders Made of Water by Bill Kuhns



By Bill Kuhns
May 6, 2023

What a stunning discovery! How do we counter the rise of a soon-to-become superior intelligence — A.I. – amplified and surrounded by other supernal threats: of Pandemic, war, fascism, and planetary meltdown? Powe proposes the wisest strategy I’ve yet encountered to our era’s many grave dangers. He writes that “the alchemical opus” – the all-or-nothing requirement this hour makes of us – is in “cultivating depths during our time of technological expansion.” 

Those very technologies, of course, promise fresh sources of distraction and further delegation of skills and abilities and mental acuteness that are inimical to the depth-seeking Powe invites us to attempt.

As its title suggests, Ladders Made of Water encourages us to cultivate depths by learning, simultaneously, to dive deep and ascend. By doing both, Powe proposes, we can surmount and prevail over these threats all but engulfing us.

This book of poems, reflections, and aphorisms is a beautifully written roadmap – dare I say, survival guide? – into cultivating those depths.

The writing is lucid and searching, delicately probing a mysterious realm of shifting questions rather than seeking out the hard-trodden firmament of rooted answers. Powe’s questioning is so visionary and wide-eyed it carries echoes of William Blake. “What are the inspirations that we need to preserve… / Inside vistas that may be whirling too wide”

Here is a work of rare moral and spiritual force, deeply true to its moment, luminous with flashpoints that I believe can serve as navigational starlight in that strange new darkness fast descending all around us. –   Bill Kuhns

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