review Tom Thomson In Purgatory 103

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Poetry Winner of the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry TOM THOMSON IN PURGATORY falls gracefully into the American tradition of the extended persona poemTroy Jolli knows how to trot forth a character as distinct. Reviewers have been saying Jolli resembles John Berryman but I think he is in tune with Elizabeth Bishop or Robert Lowell maybe some Adrienne Rich He writes really enjoyable and beautiful poems

characters Tom Thomson In Purgatory

Tom Thomson In PurgatoryVe in him our hero for the moment a man of the hourReading this book you are bound to take both Tom Thomson and his creator to your heart and to savor the miscellany of other poems that make up this superb collection Billy Colli. A poetry collection lent to me that was recommended as a starter book for grasping poetry I won't lie and say I understood it all but I did have an emotion response to some of the lines I like euating fishing to solitaire I don't know if it was the author's intent but his fictional Tom Thomson was formed in my head against the historical Thomson It convinced me to read poetry so I guess it is a success

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review Tom Thomson In Purgatory 103 ´ Poetry Winner of the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry TOM THOMSON IN PURGATORY falls gracefully into the American tradition of the extended persona poemTroy Jolli knows how to trot forth a character as distinct as one who might be encountered in sharply rendered fictionOf course we know and delight iAs one who might be encountered in sharply rendered fictionOf course we know and delight in the knowledge that Tom Thomson is a verbal phantom the result of the poet's word spinning but at the same time we lean forward to belie. Although Troy Jolli’s mastery of form is apparent in Tom Thomson in Purgatory it’s the consistent inconsistencies of the title character that make this a book of poems rather than just a collection We formally meet Tom Thomson in the third poem of the book “Trout uintet” He lives in a superhuman place and does superhuman things so I can’t stop watching this enigma In part three of the uintet “He has perfect pitch” but in part five “Tom Thomson plays no instrument He does notsing” 17 19 Huh While logically part three does not preclude part five it makes one wonder how Tom proved his perfect pitch and what use it is if he doesn’t play The pivoting from logic to fancy primes the poetry in these poems many of them sonnets which call for turns that embody Tom Thomson’s thought process Yet to be exact these poems are not persona poems in the sense that the narrator speaks to us through a character’s mask We see Tom from the safe distance of the third person with access to his thoughts “Now though fingers hea snappy hat and thinks to self perhapsif thought they there was something underneatha man a soul not just a coat on stick” 69 And of course the poem is the coat over the soul of Jolli It’s a thick coat for a soul at the center vibrant logical activity Even before we meet Tom we encounter the poet The first poem introduces Jolli as someone who understands form as a kind of play especially with inner rhymes that nearly render the poem nothing than whimsy; however as the content of the book’s first poem redefines whippoorwill as mockingbird Jolli promises to loop di loop without jumping the tracks of logic if we keep reading The poems that follow not only fly from disturbing dreams to music but often the thoughts sing while in flightThe opening poem's transformation from whippoorwill to mockingbird and back again promises reversals in following poems like Tom Thomson in His Library He has not loaned a bookto anyone for ten plus years For noone reads no and fewer people stillread what he reads 66 It would be easy for such hyperbole to fall into mockery but the turns of thought in Tom Thomson the character in 43 of these 60 poems reveal a mind that contemplates itself as levelly as it contemplates its surroundings For those of us who like to read Jolli presents a humbling experience of Thomson contemplating his books that smell of “drenched dead flames” 66 So was the fire in the living the life written about In thinking about writing In writing the life These are poems that raise uestions the voltas coming not only within the sonnets but between the poems in the book The ideas turn in the poems and keep them burning as if doubt is a fuel that will not be exhausted by scarce conclusions The survival of Thomson’s clarity of mind amidst all this is not so much superhuman as it is humanly inspiring