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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Author Jendi Reiter Reviews The Poet Spiel's "Pictures and Words"


Author: Tom Taylor a/k/a The Poet Spiel
Title: Revealing Self in Pictures and Words
Genre: Poetry, Memoir, Art Book
ISBN-13: 978-1979893695
Reviewer: Jendi Reiter
Publication: Reiter's Block

Reviewed by Jendi Reiter originally for her blog at JendiReiter.com


Visual artist Tom Taylor, a/k/a The Poet Spiel, is a creator of varied personae, with a 66-year career spanning genres from graphic design to mixed-media collage and installation art, poetry, and now memoir. His new book, Revealing Self in Pictures and Words, is an impressionistic retrospective of his personal journey and the dramatic shifts in his style and materials over the decades.

Boldly colored reproductions of his artwork are interspersed with vignettes, aphorisms, dreamlike or nightmarish memories, and previously published poems reformatted as prose paragraphs. These written sections are set off in quotation marks, like tantalizing snippets of an overheard conversation, and formatted in a multi-hued script that creates the impression of an artist’s journal. (This font was admittedly a challenge to read in large amounts, but the necessity of slowing down may have helped me absorb more of the meaning.) Instead of traditional narrative transitions, third-person summaries of the action, in a more businesslike sans-serif font, serve as occasional signposts to situate the samples of his creative work within the chronology of his life and travels.

And what a life: Born in 1941, Spiel was a maverick from the start. He grew up on a Colorado farm on the Great Plains, a repressive environment for a gay artistic boy with migraines and manic-depressive tendencies. The early pages of his book speak candidly, in intense and hallucinatory flashbacks seared with humor, about the burden of his mother’s mental illness and her violation of his intimate boundaries. His bond with animals and nature kept his soul alive, a connection he would later channel into successful commercial posters and landscape paintings of wildlife, inspired by his travels in Zambia.

In the 1990s his work took a surreal and expressionist turn, protesting social conformity and war. His life as a gay man in America has given him an outsider perspective on the hypocrisy of conventional mores, and a rage against the stifling of his authentic life force. These themes show up in his raw, satirical, unpretentious poems. Revealing Self invites the reader to experience Rimbaud’s maxim that “A Poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses.”

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Jendi Reiter is the author of the novel Two Natures (Saddle Road Press), a
Rainbow Award winner, Book Excellence Award, and National Indie Excellence Award finalist. 

See the book trailer at http://bit.ly/twonaturestrailer. The Midwest Book Review says, "Intense revelations about what it means to be both Christian and gay...a powerful saga."  She is Editor of WinningWriters.com , a Writer's Digest "101 Best Websites for Writers." 
"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise." ~Surangama Sutra



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