Emanations from the Penumbra Collected Poems by EM Schorb Reviewed at PLT

Emanations front cover only Cover Painting “O Carib Isle” by the Author – ISBN: 978-0-692-03402-6
 
Editor’s Note: A short while ago EM Schorb contacted me for the address of a mutual friend, whose address he’d mislaid. Remembering i’d published a sonnet of his here in 2013, that later appeared in an anthology of sonnets Phoenix Rises from the Ashes, i promptly requested another contribution from him. One thing led to another and he kindly sent me a copy of his latest collection of poems.
 
Emanations from the Penumbra. Schorb is a prize winning poet having gained recognition and awards several times over ( see below in his bio), so it was with some trepidation i approached this work with the intention of presenting it at our PLT (Poetry Life & Times ) site. It opens with a quote Penumbra: The “Gray area where logic and principle falter” Hmm – it is in fact a corpus of poems, two hundred pages of them, written by a writer poet, – by that i mean, a person who writes extensively and writes poetry as well. Schorb has an excellent, polished and sophisticated technique in whatever manner he approaches a poetic theme and in Penumbra these are many and varied emanations. He is of course a writer/artist who hails from the USA and he covers widely from its socio historico background, everything from workers rights, the broken war hero to the persecution of blacks by whites. P196. Part 6. titled the same as the name of the collection, starts -/ Poets of my generation are turning up dead. A serial killer is injecting them with cancer heart disease and stroke / and ends / My generation think that this is a serial crime, but have no choice but to pull the ropes and toll the bell / Wow go figure – but as much as there is pessimism and cynicism, there are as many shades of mood together with a host of erudite literary reference ranging from Empson, Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound to Aristotle and Donne to name but a few. The fact that during the time i received and was reading this work, i also happened at the same time to be reading the classic Paterson by William Carlos Williams, i couldn’t help but find similarities and the recognition how a modern poet like Schorb has emerged out of the influences of such a great work in contemporary North American Literature. Carlos Williams set a trend for commentary on the mundane and current affairs in the city, whilst expanding into pure lyricalism, – and this is what happens in Schorb’s work, at least as i experienced it. In particular, i found a quote in Paterson, which Carlos Williams had seized upon, which i thought was entirely applicable to Schorb’s work in Emanations, i quote it here, {recognizing the harmony which subsists between crabbed verses and the distorted subjects with which they dealt – the vices and perversions of humanity, as well as their agreement with the snarling spirit of the satirist. Deformed verse was suited to deformed morality} – Studies of the Greek Poets, John Addington Symonds Vol: 1 P284. I could go on, the pathos of love, nihilism, spirituality are all covered by the poet and often brought out via descriptions of small scenic events like theater clips crafted into a free and flowing verse where the poet is speaking as often as not through another’s voice or persona – though sometimes we find self depreciation as in The Last Word at the end of Part 4. P121. / Edwin Makepeace Thackery Schorb / Wrote many words into his books /…./ Was quite mistaken in all he did /…/ What is the truth? Oh who knows? / Say this: He drank and had to go! / Lets hope he’s not gone forever and comes back. It’s impossible really to select favorites from such a ranging work but i liked especially The Isle of Langerhans P79. Written in vertical inter- facing columns, it makes the reader work hard at reading it and i think that’s important in modern poetry, why should poetry be made easy for the reader to read, it’s the struggle that counts. And here we present at PLT the particular poem Schorb has selected Because P169/70…/ the unicorn is an ungulate because they say so /… Robin Ouzman Hislop

 
BECAUSE
 
in the port-cities they have found everything out and
Aristotle-like have put everything into categories
and the unicorn is an ungulate because they say so
because the fine-print of the unreligious sun says we circle it
it is not for us but we for it because the moon hit us
and bounced off instead of was born of our first spin
because the ninth planet is an invading comet caught
and because there is no now and there never has been
 
because we look upon ourselves in savannas past
knuckling to water because we see the white lemming’s hole
in the snow smashed down by hooves and hear its pitiful
chirp of counter-aggression because the avalanche
indifferently buries the contested world of the snow
valley because stars die because we believe in facts
and because the deluge led to the ark because because
and because we bury our dead and dig up their bones
 
because the unsoundness of our judgments lead to sound
judgment and because facts are facts and we must reckon
and because the sea is cruel and because time flies
because the wind blows down our houses and because
we remember the snow hare and the hawk because
because the dove is taken in air by the eagle
and because space is either empty or full of dark matter
because galaxies hold for a long time their pinwheel-shapes
 
because time and space are curved and we can blow ourselves up
and because we blow ourselves up constantly and because
it makes us wonder because doesn’t it mean something
because we are riding a mud-ball through space because
we were born here and because we have categories and
because we dig up our bones and dogs dig our bones up
and because we are not even safe in pyramids because
we dig ourselves up and look upon our own bones
 

 
Biography
E. M. Schorb attended New York University, where he fell in with a group of actors and became a professional actor. During this time, he attended several top-ranking drama schools, which led to industrial films and eventually into sales and business. He has remained in business on and off ever since, but started writing poetry when he was a teenager and has never stopped. His collection, Time and Fevers, was a 2007 recipient of an Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing and also won the “Writer’s Digest” Award for Self-Published Books in Poetry. An earlier collection, Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press. Other collections include Reflections in a Doubtful I, The Ideologues, The Journey, Manhattan Spleen: Prose Poems, 50 Poems, and The Poor Boy and Other Poems.
 
Schorb’s work has appeared widely in such journals as The Yale Review, The Southern Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Chicago Review, The Sewanee Review, The American Scholar, and The Hudson Review.

 
At the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2000, his novel, Paradise Square, was the winner of the Grand Prize for fiction from the International eBook Award Foundation, and later, A Portable Chaos won the Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction in 2004.

 
Schorb has received fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the North Carolina Arts Council; grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Carnegie Fund, Robert Rauschenberg & Change, Inc. (for drawings), and The Dramatists Guild, among others. He is a member of the Academy of American Poets, and the Poetry Society of America.

 
PRIZE-WINNING BOOKS
BY E.M. SCHORB
Books available at Amazon.com
_______________________________________
 
Dates and Dreams, Writer’s Digest International Self-
Published Book Award for Poetry, First Prize
 
Paradise Square, International eBook Award
Foundation, Grand Prize, Fiction, Frankfurt Book Fair
 
A Portable Chaos, The Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction,
First Prize
 
Murderer’s Day, Verna Emery Poetry Prize, Purdue
University Press
 

Time and Fevers, The Eric Hoffer Award for Poetry
and Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book
Award for Poetry, each First Prize

 
 
Amazon.com Author Robin Ouzman Hislop
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop