The Poetic Rendezvous | Dissident Voice

Dustin Pickering’s evocative book of poems, Salt and Sorrow, does a lot in the short precincts that it had. Also, it deals with a lot of problems and the intricacies that are quite unique in their own right, taking into account the American culture that the poet represents. One thinks of the conventional things when one thinks of Hollywood. One takes things for granted, say, the beauty of a woman. Pickering does not entertain such cock sure readers. He makes things pretty clear right at the beginning. In the opening poem, he talks about the beauty of a woman from an ontological point of view, which makes his poem so modern despite proclaiming that the book is guided by the values of Christianity.

What would strike you is not Hollywood but the Japanese new wave of the 70s. Especially the first poem would take you back to Kaneto Shindo’s 1972 classic Sanka (hymn). Beauty here is not objectified, at least not in the conventional sense. There is an adoration of beauty by Sasuke. Shunkin, the epitome of art, is not to be seen with the eyes that are not learned in ontology. There is a vivid scene where Sasuke defiles his eyes in order to escape from the defiled beauty of his teacher, Shunkin. They renounce the sense of sight, and touch each other with passion, have rampant sexual encounters because they know better than others: “what is good inevitably dies”. They make the most of beauty by becoming wise enough to renounce sight and feel their way to the light,…

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