A collection of poetry by the British poet John Looker that explores human work in all of its forms. There are sonnets, free verse, and a mixture of free verse and traditional forms in a unique collection that sings with the rhythms of work going on in the hive of humanity as it has existed over time. The book is presented in seven parts that explore archetypal modes of woA collection of poetry by the British poet John Looker that explores human work in all of its forms. There are sonnets, free verse, and a mixture of free verse and traditional forms in a unique collection that sings with the rhythms of work going on in the hive of humanity as it has existed over time. The book is presented in seven parts that explore archetypal modes of work found in human society, a global picture of a timeless day, a ancient and modern sequence organized as a business trip, tribal loyalties, states of mind faced through work, the ploughman, the baker, the long masterpiece "The Night Shift," and archetypal activities taken for pleasure in conjunction with work. Looker is a major poet with a major new work to his credit....
|Title||:||The Human Hive|
|Number of Pages||:||87 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Human Hive Reviews
I have been following John (Stevens) Looker's work for some years now. What attracted him to me at first was his consummate skill with traditional forms of poetry, but eventually his free verse and experiments with mixing free verse and traditional forms in the same poem began to interest me from both the standpoint of the craftsmanship involved and the artistry of the poems themselves.The Human Hive is Looker's first volume of poetry, and I am hoping it is not his last. Reading the poems as they have appeared over the years on his wordpress blog Poetry From John Looker, I became accustomed to looking for symbolic meanings in both the construction of the poems and their strong images. Seeing the poems put together in a book is a totally different experience.What Looker has accomplished is sweeping in both its intent and execution. Using human labor as a theme, he avoids showing the evolution of humanity toward the frenetic pace of the contemporary world, but instead shows the ley lines of relationship of humans over time. The first poem in the book, "Work (A Noun)" sets up this theme:"He stands. He weighs one flint in his hand, frowning,then swinging his arm high he sends that stonearchingthrough the air to the trees below,and it's spinning still. Changing shape. Becoming"a knife, a poet, the wheel, the printing press,railways, nuclear fission and the rule of law."There is the sense in the fourteen lines of the poem that what has evolved is not so much "...the whole man, in skins, squatting,/a ring of small children, thin dogs and beyond...", but the tools, knives, poetry, wheel, printing press, railways, nuclear fission and the rule of law, that come from our "two hands."As the book develops we come to understand that the core of our humanity has not changed over time even though our tools, and the world changed and evolved as the result of our use of those tools has had profound effects on our individual lives. There are seven groupings of poems in the book: Spinning the World, Martha (a picture of a single day in the life of one woman), the Silk Road, Tribal Loyalties, States of Mind, Ploughman, Master Baker, Night Shift, and Keeping Busy. In many of the poems portraits of individuals are drawn with a sharp eye. In the "Dancer", Looker writes,"She feels so alive! She wants, she needs, the sameexhilaration daily in her life,to burst from the chrysalis, break the chainof the prison door, to give her talents spaceto dance on a wider stage in the circle of light."In others groups pursue aims and interact in the endless dance that is humanity:"We could be with the caravans of Persia, listeningto the roll of the daice and the click of the counters;in the cool of a durbar;or sitting with the Moorsin the shady gardens beside the Alhambra --leaning forward with the others, watching and listening,the players absorbed in their cerebral strategy..." ("A Game of Backgammon")Place becomes like time, a kaleidoscope of the human hive where men and women come and go, play, work, love, and become who they are inside the enormous sweep of the human story inside the hive that is time and place and heart and spirit. Time, place, and individuals are specific, but we all exist and live our lives in relationship to other times, other places, other individuals, other groups, the flight of who we are inherent in the endless music coming out of the hive.The entire volume builds into a long poem, "The Night Shift", that shows us a single night in a city with all of its individuals pursuing their lives through their work:"There are those for whom the night is not for sleeping.They've left the cave by moonlight. Stalking, fishing,there is always someone working through 'til dawn.The Tribe is never closing down."The poem is as restless as the city that never "closes down," singing into the city's light, its underground, its hospitals, its policemen responding to the darker human happenings in the hive of the city, which is part of the larger hive. This is not the world of the ploughman or an individual woman in her kitchen or the hunter in the forest. It is no longer the confined walls of a cave, but it is larger and endlessly alive, although, in the end, still part of the doings of the tribe.The denouement of the book takes us to the "Caves at Nerja", "The Stadium at Olympia", "A Garden of the Ming Dynasty" as come to see the complex layering of humankind and the world through time, space, culture, work, and all the different songs and buzzing in the hive that encompasses the human universe. Looker flies across landscapes and time as if the limitations of the now have been magically eliminated and conjured into a three dimensional tapestry that makes up what for we, as humans, is eternity still unfolding. The Tribe goes on...This book by Bennison Books is a welcome, welcome addition to contemporary poetry. Welcome, John Looker. Welcome.