BOOK REVIEW – The Poet and The Architect
In The Poet and the Architect, Christine Stewart Nunez provides a reflective, textured collection of poetry that seamlessly tells a story of contrasts. The masterful conceit of this book is the love story between opposites – a poet and an architect. But, within the walls of this book are stories and experiences that resonate–the joy of love, the pain of divorce, the blending of a mixed family, and the affliction of a son prone to seizures. The poems at time are powerfully descriptive — particularly those focused on the shape, form, and structure of buildings. In other places, the collection takes us to the craft of poetry, drawing connections between the construction of these two diverse yet related mediums.
Throughout, Nunez’s poems powerfully tell a story and reinforce the central contrast of shape and structure versus fluidity and flow. In the delightfully playful “He Said, She Said” she captures the yin and yang at work throughout, the revealed preferences of his “lines, quadrilaterals, parallelograms, dodecagons” versus her “curves.”
Nunez also demonstrates a wonderful range – her playful but serious concrete poem “Urban Planning” telling the tale of a project in Lead, South Dakota in a beautiful shape of a hollow core, and “Love on a Grid” a pithy but expressive poem in a 3-by-3 matrix. One of the most moving poems in the collection is “The Architecture of His Brain” which strikingly explains the brain chemistry at work behind her son’s seizures. With the love of a parent watching their son afflicted but also a strange lightness, she is able to convey this challenge:
Axons wave their arms as the day replays in a time-compressed capoeira— those impressions processed and stored.
The interesting tension throughout, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the story at times feels less linear than one might expect. The depth of the poems makes it even hard to fit into the concentric circles implied by the “four rings” structure. But none of these realities abstract from what is a masterful piece of work. The collection concludes with “Credo” and apropos this poem and collection perfectly described by the definition that starts off the poem:
Fractal: a cascade of never-ending, self-similar, repeated elements that change in scale but retain similar shape.
This collection is a beautiful piece of artwork, a master class in poetic forms, but also tells a story that can be read and re-read. With incredible depth, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and meaningful collection.
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The Poet & The Architect
By Christine Stewart Nunez
Released – 30 June 2021
CLICK HERE to order a copy from Amazon UK.