FROM IM AND NOT THIS by Greg Thomas
A5, 40 pages, Black & white printing, Saddle stitched, Softcover, 2021
Visual poetry – ‘concrete poetry’ in the language of old money – is as flexible – as funny, as delicate, as powerful! – as the skills of the poet adept enough to take on its energies. Its tradition is older than the sonnet and yet feels newer. It’s as if one of its innate jobs is to respond to the changes in contemporary social space– it is a poetry for outdoor walls as well as for contemplative paper. It can be particularly attuned to the natural world and to changes affecting Earth.
Greg Thomas is a scholar of concrete poetry and he is a delightful practitioner, too. His poems renew the genre. They work across scale – from tiny clever manoeuvres which mutate one word into another with a great sense of fun and surprise, to pieces which command the whole page, making the white-space do metaphoric work as if it were a state of the landscape. There are learned poems, pleasingly daft poems, and pieces sensitive to natural forces. Thomas is especially good at evoking the ‘thisness’ of elements – water, ice, scents – so that a collection of his work is a book refreshingly ‘out in the open’.