The Devil Wind of The Nile, this ancient instrument is described as being used for worship as
well as entertainment.
With expectant stillness at its
height, [the High Priest of Ptah] intoned the old sacred chants, his rich
baritone echoed by the pure high voices of his temple chantresses. The simple
notes of a lonely flute rang out, a harp adding its melodic strings.
Sistrum-players rattled their papyrus stems. The beat quickened. With nothing
more than belts around slim waists, the undulating chantresses mesmerized the
crowd; it often fell to these lithe servants of the gods to keep the
beer-drowsed audience alert.
At last, Canadian Poet Jim Bennett has published a new poetry book, Fortress: Poems 6. I was delighted to receive a copy from the author. Below is my Review of this delightful (and as usual, challenging) volume and I am proud to add his special poetry to his previous five.
After an extended hiatus, we can finally welcome another
volume, the sixth, in Jim Bennett’s poetry collection. This one, I felt, was earthier than the previous ones, lusty and even outright sexy. There is also a
bit of political tongue-in-cheek, as in ReForms
of Intelligence. All encompass Bennett’s usual complexity of thought. Through
his mastery, he makes one think, imagine a parallel to one’s own life. He is
sly in his choice of words and verse, forcing you to re-read those poems until
you get it – sometimes maybe not.
Starting out with Possession, I felt I had gone home again without estrangement of
place or time. Silence is brief and
profound, whereas Chorus adds a dose of
sex; as do several other poems.
The book ends with Fortress of Solitude. To me, a contemplation of a waning life:
reflective, sad even, resigned, yet gratified to have been witness to it.
And that is how my first reading of this 70-poem
volume left me: Gratified – and most glad that I can add Poems 6 to Bennett’s
previous five poetry books on my shelf. But it won’t gather dust there, for the
depth and complexity of those poems cry out to be re-read and re-discovered
time and again – as they will be for sure.
also appears in 4 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab Novels
He charms in Sirocco, Storm over Land and Sea He cons in After the Cataclysm His bad side crystallizes in The Crystal Curse
And what happens in The Nile Conspiracy, well -- you'll just have to read about it. Even in Shadow Love, he is remembered with some regret about what could have been... How did he get to be that way? This short novella here shows how he spirals from charmer down to criminal.
Helen, a high-powered executive and consummate professional
when not enthralled by tall Brits, informed him she had to take an early
morning flight to Europe and that her generosity, alas, could not extend to her
home, her Mercedes and her treasured sailboat while she was away.
Edward understood, being the perfect gentleman. He returned
her key, kissed her good-night, promised to call her in two weeks.
That Sunday morning, the normally fastidious Edward did not
shave. He dressed in the midnight blue silk pajamas and brown leather
slippers—gifts from a nice woman in Newport Beach—and confidently drove up the
Silver Strand that connects seedy Imperial Beach to affluent Coronado.
of homes down from Helen’s, he spied a yellow-hulled San Diego Union in a driveway. Slowing down just enough, he
expertly scooped the Sunday paper up. Then he drove to a lone beach
emergency-telephone he had scouted out the day before. Smoothing out a sheet
torn from his motel’s Yellow Pages, he dialed the number of the first-listed
locksmith. No answer. Second: No answer. The third promised to meet him at the
given address within thirty minutes.
“Can you imagine? Here I am, out in the street in my
pajamas. I come out to pick up my Sunday paper and the door slams behind me.”
Edward’s speech is colloquial and friendly, without a trace of his usual
“It happens all the time,” the locksmith commiserated. “I’ll
have you back in your house in no time.”