Thursday, March 1, 2018

Book Review: 'Wandering Among the Stars' by Wirton Arvel

Poet/writer Wirton Arvel likes to keep his biographical succinct: ‘I'm above all a poet who tries to encourage the promotion and love of poetry, especially among who only enjoy reading prose works. Besides my work as a writer, I have also edited several bilingual editions with English parallel texts: among them there are some classics of literature such as "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, "Three men in a boat" by Jerome K. Jerome, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Adventures of Pinocchio (The Tale of a Puppet) by Carlo Collodi, "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry. I have also edited some anthologies of Italian and English poetry, among which "Aedi, Bardi e Poeti - Cantori, Trovatori e Vati (Poetry Anthology: XII-XIV centuries [with Occitan and Italian poems])", "101 poems worth reading in London and New York..." (Anthology of English poetry, from Shakespeare to the beginning of the twentieth century). I took part in some international voluntary workcamps in Finland, Turkey, Zimbabwe and more than one time in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Salvador da Bahia). I have lived and/or worked in Canada, the United States, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Poland and New Zealand.’ His interests are writing, dreaming, making people read poetry.

As his book opens he leaves a telling blurb: ‘This is the imaginary journey of an aspiring poet and of the words that surround him; little by little they get into his life and lead him among the lines of the poems…Wirton calls this book one of "narrated poems" - a literary experiment where prose and poetry are intermingled like soul and body, in order to create a story that looks like a work of prose, but at the same time arouses the emotions, like poetry.

What follows is a magical collection of quotes, brief thoughts, prose and poetry. Some selections follow:

Poems are often like photos of a journey: they mean something to the author alone.

The following is one of the oldest poems I've ever written and I still keep it.

The wind rustled in the leaves
the birds chirped on the branches
the river babbled among the rocks
the flowers waved in the meadows

for brief but endless moments
I thought
I too was a ray of sunlight.

~ Life - 10th September 1989

The first poem I want to quote here is about a journey to the places where we think mankind originated. It tells about a journey to Africa. To Mother Africa. Where, maybe, the first hominid started making music by following the beating of his heart, then tried to move in time with that music and, eventually, wrote his first verses inspired by the exciting idea of that rhythm which, maybe, permeates the universe around him….. until you feel lighter than the wind and your heart beats in time with the rhythm of the drums, which mark the breath of the night and of your life.

Singing voices
rise in the wind

Like a whirlwind the dance
is sweeping with its rhythm

A bonfire in the night
and the moonlight

The boundless universe
and the joy of being human

~ Night in Africa - 19th November 1997 ~

The joy of Wirton Arvel’s work is the journey we take with him as we read this book. It cannot be summarized – that would tarnish its beauty of wholeness. The book is an experience – and we all should share it. Grady Harp, June 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.