Empty Chairs: A Story in Poetry
by Jeremy Frost
One’s love for words leads to lovely worlds.
Jeremy Frost’s poetry book, Empty Chairs, is a drifting to such worlds, worlds in moments.
Now I have to rephrase that first sentence: One’s love reflected in words leading to lovely worlds.
The poems in Empty Chairs are more than words. There is a sweet sensation in the soul as one reads line after line, stanza after stanza. They cannot be just words, there must be something more in those poems, for such sweetness does not spring from mere words.
I surmise, the flavor does not come from words, it springs from the poet’s boldness, there is action in every line, and meaning in each action, the beauty does not come from the words, the sweetness does not flow from mere letters.
Now I have to rephrase the first sentence: One’s love borrowed by words flowing to lovely worlds.
I approximate words merely hold the shape of the moment through which the poet’s soul moves, like a river, flowing, borrowing the shapes of the slopes. How can words be in themselves the poet’s existence?
Jeremy Frost’s poetry is not mere words leading to worlds. It just cannot be, otherwise there will be no sweetness in the soul, no movement, no being.
That’s it, what moves the reader in Frost’s poems are not the words, in fact what defines his poems is the very act of defining and re-defining poetry itself, not with words but with the act merely made visible by the slopes, by the poems in words yet more than words, the very act that springs from his rebellion against the commonplace and the mundane, claiming his originality in the present moment when poetry itself may also claim its newness in its original moment.
Frost is consistently exploring a newly discovered island. The discovery made possible because he dared to make it possible. That’s where the sweet sensation in the soul comes from, it springs from the landfall of discovery, from the rich possibilities of existence.
Now I have to rephrase the first sentence: One’s love made visible and tangible by words leading to lovely worlds in original moments.
Empty Chairs is a book that is worth a peep, a read and a re-read, for though poems are made of words, lines and stanzas, Frost’s poetry is pure existence and its perfume of possibilities.
Review by Edwin Cordevilla - the author of Phoenix and Other Poems (published in 2000), The Occasions of Air, Fire, Water, Earth (2012), and the non-traditional epic poem Ten Thousand Lines Project For World Peace (2013) In the introductions of three books on Philippine literary history and literary criticism, namely, The Likhaan Anthology of Philippine Literature in English from 1900 to the Present (University of the Philippines Press,1998) : A Habit of Shores: Filipino Poetry and Verse from English,60’s to the 90’s (University of the Philippines Press,1999) : and The Critical Villa: Essays in Literary Criticism (Ateneo de Manila University Press,2002) , Cordevilla is viewed as the last of the Filipino Romantic poets in English.