Silence Craves a Voice Launch a Great Success

On Saturday, March 30th, Bayside Cafe was filled to standing room only for Neil’s book launch of Silence Craves a Voice.

The event was hosted by Terry of Poplar Publishing and an introduction was given by Natalie Nickerson, Comox Valley Poet Laureate.  Readings of Neil’s work were given by Carol Gilroy, Kay Kennedy and Janet Miller, President of the Comox Valley Writers Society.  Followed by three readings by Neil Garvie.

My first impression of this collection came from the title, “Silence Craves a Voice”. It struck me as an evocative title because it felt like an invitation to rediscover silence and to consider a dialogue with silence.

Neil’s poems demonstrate how to look closely at our surroundings and how to consider, more deeply, our actions and their potential consequences; behaviours (I believe) we can all benefit from doing more of.

Alive with images of the natural world, Neil employs contrasts of dark and light, day and night, and in so doing reveals the worldly rhythms within which we are intrinsically entwined and connected.

His observations reveal lessons that have come to him from nature… and it is all there from brutality to wonderment.

These poems ask thought-provoking questions: “Have you ever watched the sky and stayed long enough to wonder?” “What is the taste of pristine perfection?” and “Who would miss the grander meaning?”

And the answers are not simply handed over; rather, clues are left as to where or how one might discover the answers: through say, “a medley learned from time itself” or “[by walking a circle in an] ancient dust path.”

Natalie Nickerson

Comox Valley Poet Laureate, 2017-2019

Silence Craves A Voice consists of 50 poems divided into the sections of chronicles of humankind’s damage to the natural world, immersions in the resilient beauty of that world and affirmations of reconnection. It could serve well as a basic text for every eco-warrior seeking their own voice for advocacy and redemptive change in relation to our world. Without being preachy, the poems assert that “In a time when we all had our way/ we squandered our moment/ and dreams of empire were/ lost to dust and thistle;” and without sentimentality they can describe the crow “bleeding black, it discards clouds” or Canada geese as “They rose in a gust/ to climb the September sky.”

 

If Neil brings a naturalist’s love of subject he also brings an academic’s competence to his writing, and the student of poetics will appreciate his facility with both rhyme and free verse, tercet, incantation, prose-poem and more. This is not an enumeration of skills, but an invitation to relax, for the poet speaks in the terms best suited to subject and perception. It is a book to dip into in the morning to give direction to one’s day.

Derek Peach

Island Writer Book Review

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