There are no rules to know a good poem or discover a fine new poet. The good poem sings its own song. It rings true from its first line, the breath, pause and accent right, the sound word-music. As we listen or read we forget ourselves. We believe it as we believe any fine work of art. At first reading at least a phrase stays, a line sings in the mind, an image returns, because it is well observed, well-heard. The poem’s detail surprises, a familiar thing made new. A good poem becomes our own because it could not be said better.
Kaddy Benyon’s poems are physical, earthy, powered by the salt of guilt, the cadences of liturgical language, the familiar stations of the day, close family relationships. Such poetry draws on the rich ground of childhood to question the big subjects: family, love, sin. It stirs primitive fears and desires that are the spark in the steel. Whether these are signs of Catholic and post-Catholic times, I am not sure, but even the ‘urge to slip / my hands inside the soiled, wilting / necks of your gardening gloves’ speaks both of longing for the nurture for a lost gardener-father, and a lost Eden.
Photo by Jamieanne