Interferon Psalms by Luke Davies

Interferon PsalmsInterferon Psalms by Luke Davies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Interferon Psalms

Luke Davies is an Australian contemporary poet, acclaimed novelist and screenplay writer. Born in 1962, and raised in Sydney, NSW, he became interested in reading and writing at a young age; and at thirteen, he decided he wanted to be a poet and a novelist. When he finished school he attended the University of Sydney and earned a Bachelor of Arts, publishing his first book of poems, Four Plots for Magnets (1982), while still a student.

Davies has worked as a truck driver and teacher.

His more recent poetry collections include Absolute Event Horizon (1994), Running With Light (1999), Totem (2005), a collection of love poems, and Interferon Psalms (2011).

At the time of reading Luke Davies, Interferon Psalms, it was my all-time favourite of all his books. (I’m back to loving Candy, all the more these day.) Interferon Psalms has thirty-three poems of varied length and concentration; the language is archaic and modern at the same time. Davies describes the book as thirty-three psalms on the face of god, used as a medi-evil reference. He underwent interferon treatment for his liver, where the side effects from the treatment were really awful; this book of poetry was his way of making something good out of something horrible.

The poems in this book contain metaphors relating to physics, space and time. On first reading, I thought most of the poems were about religion and god, but I think they’re the opposite of that, in that, the poems appear to be about the big bang theory, quantum physics, and the structure of the earth, all interrelated with the themes of lost love, the redemptive power of medicine, and the rebellion of one’s own body.

My Complete Analysis of Interferon Psalm 25
The title is interesting because ‘interferon is a protein released by animal cells, usually in a response to a virus, and it has the property of inhibiting virus replication’. ‘Psalm’ is a sacred song or poem. So, to me, the title suggests irony because even though interferon, itself, is produced naturally by the body, and interferon treatment saves lives, the treatment can also produce awful side effects, so ‘interferon’, and ‘psalms’, which are poetically soothing, sit at odds with one another.

The first line is strong, as it tells the reader that it’s about a poem.

To me, the poem is about the narrator, a poet who finds refuge in poetry.
Images used are poems, notebooks, syntax, words: all elements of writing. As well there is blood, matter and light: all elements of life. Also there is the image of a cutlass, which is a machete, or a short naval sword, scything the air for words to use in poetry.

The theme of the poem is poetry, the one true place of refuge. And perhaps, pain, and finding peace in one’s writing.

The blood is a metaphor for the use of grammar, which the narrator has had a lot of experience with.

The last two lines: the ‘Waving my cutlass, I scythed the air. (God bless this notebook and all who sail in her.), suggests the narrator slashing the air and snatching precious words out of the air, and being thankful for the treasure of a notebook to keep them in. And the idea that people can ‘sail’ in a notebook suggests that there is a story in there that will take the reader on a journey!

I really like this poem; I love the way it is written, and the use of language and poetry. On first reading, I felt that Davies had slashed open his heart and bled out his feelings for the love of poetry, out onto the page. He is a gifted poet we could all learn from, who has a way of writing about love, life and pain without coming across as overly sentimental.

Mostly though, I’m in love and awe of the way Davies paints with words.

GoodReads: View all my reviews

More

Miche@The Labyrinth: That Time I Tried to Emulate Luke Davies

Miche@VU: Study of an Australian Contemporary Poet: Luke Davies

Poetry Library: Luke Davies 

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Apiary: The Power Issue: by incarcerated authors of PA

New from Issuu:

The best new local writing—poetry, prose, and nonfiction—from Philadelphia. In collaboration with prison reform advocacy group Decarcerate PA, this issue features writing by incarcerated authors in Pennsylvania.

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Re-blog: For all the women with EI – You are stronger than you know

Below is a wonderful poem, by Kathryn Treat (author of the soon to be released: Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage and Hope), about women who suffer with Environmental Illness (EI), Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Toxic Loss of Intolerance (TILT) or just plain chemical sensitivities (chemical sensitivities is a description of symptoms, it’s not a diagnosis)–these conditions are nearly all the exact same thing, depending on which country you live in. Kathryn is a mould surviver. A. Survivor. Someone with great tenacity, and admiral strength for life, and a gift for helping others while sharing her amazing story. I find great inspiration in all of her posts. You can visit her blog here.

WHO ARE WE?

Who Are We?

We are the women of environmental illness

stripped of our “identities”

The ones who no longer feel

so “feminine:

Who Are We?

We are the women who

feel older than our years

We were the caretakers of

our families

Our families are now

our caretakers

Who Are We?

We are the women whose faces

are bare, lashless eyes, pale

cheeks and colorless lips

Gray streaks of hair now replace

what was once a radiant

glow of color

Who Are We?

We are the women whose

bodies have been ravaged

We have lost our food, our

electricity, our vitamins and

our organs

We are the women who are

thin and frail

Who Are We?

We are the women who

struggle each and every day

We endure being poked with

needles, baking in a sauna

and countless physiological

and neurological reactions

Who Are We?

We are the women who walk

around behind masks of charcoal

Our smiles and frowns and lovely

lips hidden to the world

We are the women who secretly

cry out in the darkness of our

empty rooms – yearning

for the life we once had

Who Are We?

We are the women who are

stronger than we could ever

imagine ourselves to be

The Women who daily stare

adversity in the face

The Women who have revealed

our true selves to the public

Who Are We?

We are the women who have

given up our identities in

return for new ones

Gone are our contacts, hair color

and make up

Gone are our dressing in trend and

latest fashion-dos

Who Are We?

We are the women who

will survive

The women unafraid of

unmasking our true selves

We are the women who can

say, “This is the real me!”

Who Are We?

We are not the make-up, the

clothes or the hairstyles

We refuse to be measured

by fashion or trend

We are women

and we will fight to

the bitter end?

This Poem has been reprinted with the authors full permission.

Oh, and if you’d like a laugh (especially if you are sensitive and go to funny/strange lengths to avoid chemicals – or have had to accommodate someone with a sensitivity to chemicals) then you absolutely must read this!

 

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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