View to the Maze

Ujaz Tresong

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 93 Price: (paperback) $16.12 ISBN: 9781514441152 Reviewed: June, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

View to the Maze by Ujaz Tresong is a book of short, aphoristic poems, numbered rather than titled, that express a philosophical approach to life. Many of the poems explore dualities, illusions, and impermanence.

Tresong frequently employs chiasmus and other parallel constructions to express ideas of nothingness (“In memory of a past that never was/ looking towards a future that will not be”) or bitter ironies of consumer society (“more and more things/ less and less life…”). Many poems are somewhat nihilistic, and the author’s use of incomplete sentences  embodies a kind of failed gesture, as in poem 48, which reads in its entirety: “With icons created/ by advertising, music videos and movies/ what chance of balanced relationships –/ let alone fulfillable expectations.”

The collection offers interesting moments, such as poem 23, which presents an unassailable truth: “Nothing is perfect/ we are and deal with/ damaged goods./ Uphill to awareness/ blindly stumbling.” More often, though, the work is vague and confounding.  The author’s short verse frequently makes simplistic proclamations that read like platitudes; yet despite their brevity and seeming simplicity, they can be hard to decipher. What do these brief thoughts, for example, really mean?: “We do as we know,/ and see as we be”; “The gap between is what is/ neither side, the interplay/ is potent.”

Meanwhile, the longer poems are replete with abstract language that readers will find hard to digest, as in poem 10, which ends: “procuring not the implication/ but chasing every connotation,/ lost as to conveyance of purpose/ a dervish dance of confusion.”

This work is aimed more at the head than the heart and requires the kind of decoding that may frustrate many readers. Those who enjoy philosophical poems without much imagery might appreciate View to the Maze. However, readers seeking artistic risk and startling, original imagery that resonates emotionally would do best to look elsewhere.

Also available as an ebook.

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