Island on the Wind-Breathed Edge of the Sea
John B. Lee
Author: John B. Lee
Title: Island on the Wind-Breathed Edge of the Sea
ISBN: 978-1-927725-13-9 = 9781927725139
Trade Paperback: 82 pages – 6 X 9
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Island on the Wind‑Breathed Edge of the Sea, is a collection of poetry by, arguably, one of Canada’s finest living People’s Poets, John B. Lee. After numerous literary awards, 60 books and many trips to Cuba this is Lee’s first full collection of Cuba poems. They are the perceptions, perspectives and reflections on the Cuban landscape, its peoples, the sounds and sights, the sea and the wind and how they all fold into a poetic experience. These poems will bring you closer to the real Cuba than any guide or travel book could possibly do. This is one of John B. Lee=s finest books.
Suffused with light and air, the poems have the clarity of great photography, the feel of wind in the hair, the hushed compassion for everything and everyone seen and heard.
There is a rich exuberance underlying all impressions, but not exploited at the expense of deep feelings.
There is a subtle basic bass line supporting the sparkling right hand figures of Lee’s style–an unerring ear matched to an intensity of vision, and both in the service of heart, mind and soul.
More and more, I’m impressed by Lee’s wish to communicate in artistic language without compromise–by his steely discipline as he balances the richest of language with spiritual insight, avoiding the cheap plays of irony, frippery vulgarity that tarnishes so much of “People’s Poetry”.
This is subtly conveyed by his kind shading of metaphor with “like” since similes are less dazzling and therefore more sympathetic to the nerves of the common reader as he sublimely manipulates emotions with all the artistry of the poet aligned with the gravitas of the image.
John B. Lee is “the” People’s Poet with the hidden agenda of a spiritual adviser, a magician of language whose poems often conclude with an amazing transcendence of intellect confronted by the inexpressible and surrendering to it in a skyrocket of wild imagery and pure poetry.
I admire the unselfconscious pride with which Lee propagates his love of literature–its power and its glory–around his town and around the world–an evangelist of truth and beauty. To read Lee’s work is to believe in them for the first time all over again. God bless him.