Friday, August 31, 2018

David Russell responds

David Russell: I would like to consider myself a polymath. I work in the fields of visual art, poetry, fiction and music. In the literary area, I write both speculative and romantic work. Some of the former has been published online in International Times.  I have had 8 romance titles published by Extasy Books; I have self-published a collection of erotic poetry and artwork, Sensual Rhapsody, and have had several romantic poems published in Rubies in the Darkness. My translation of the 16th Century Spanish epic La Araucana is available on Amazon. My singer-songwriter activity is well represented on YouTube, under 'Dave Russell', with such tracks as Microscope and Symbiotic Suffocation. I also do literary journalism, and edit the online magazine Poetry Express Newsletter.

DV: Under what circumstances did you separate yourself from the rest of humanity by deciding you were that odd species called a "poet"?

DR: Under circumstances of feeling some degree of estrangement from the rest of humanity.

DV: Is estrangement from others a necessary part of creation, or a need to enjoin?

DR: Some degree of detachment is necessary to get a comprehensive, panoramic vision. But there is also the feeling of some gulf or the equivalent which needs to be bridged. The potential for response and rapport must be there.

DV: How would you describe your approach to poetry?

DR: I guess it's a matter of feeling disturbed and/or aroused by experience, and making a struggle through the darkness; an attempted fusion of order and chaos.

DV: In more concrete terms, how do you go about doing that? Perhaps you could use one of your poems as illustration?

DR: Here is my erotic poem, "The First Adventure."

That shadowy entrance, subdued glint, spark of 


You trod all cultures with your classic grace

Of posture, figure, profile

The breathy touch, so tentative,

The answering squeeze

All beams and tiptoes as we trod

Unspoken message:

“The dream’s come true”

The curtain nearly volunteered

To close itself.

I was poised to give the word;

Fired by our kisses, you took it from my mouth

Each garment spoke surrender as it fell

A flower-show of fabrics

Adoring those limbs which they had covered;

Warm air on new divested skin

Near liquid in its heady density

Our bodies new-revealed, dreamed up

A gallery of art-figures,

Our mounting breath

Kindled their animation in our honour

Those facing entities suffused with mutual nourishment

The rising sun the backcloth of our dual climax

The bathing epilogue

The farewell walk

A froth of blossom round our tender steps

That fleeting perfection was the purest art

Framed in an idyllic memory.

This is in fact a celebration of my first one-night stand, which remains in my memory as idyllic and perfect. Over the years, I have constantly replayed it in my mind, and through doing so have been able to hone in on its aesthetic and artistic aspects. 

DV: As I read it, it was the first one-night stand for both of you. This is especially brought out by your expressions of "our kisses," "our bodies," "our mounting breath," "our honour," "our dual climax," "our tender steps." In fact, the appearance of the first-person plural possessive pronoun seems to increase as the poem progresses. Is that the fusion of order and chaos you referred to?

DR: Interesting comments. It was not in fact my first sexual experience, but it was my first romantic, exciting, clandestine encounter. If you'd like to discuss in greater detail, I'm happy to do so.

DV: Sure. Why not? How much time elapsed between the deed and the word (the poem)?

DR: The encounter took place in 1967; the words finally emerged in 2015. Through all the intervening period, the memory of that tryst invigorated me and rejuvenated me. It was a personal 'art movie' that I constantly replayed in my mind.

DV: Generally speaking, does it usually take a long gestation period for one of your poems to emerge? Or are they more spontaneous?

DR: I have a very elastic time-scale, ranging from the immediate to spanning the years

DV: Why did it take so long, in this particular case? Were there a series of disparate drafts before it finalized? Or was it just hibernating in your mind someplace?

DR: Yes; it did hibernate in my mind for a long time, hedged in by inhibitions and reticence.

DV: Have you ever thought about composing a really long poem, like an epic?

DR: Below is a longer poem. I have in fact written an epic in rhyming couplets, called Nothing Hero. This is published in a paperback collection called Prickling Counterpoints.


He, muscles taut, off springboard thrust

Resilient in buoyancy,

Slow sweep to surface, breathe.

She, lithe, with back-stroke rippling,

Firm breasts cresting mild waves,
Thighs, ankles, near-straight, undulating,
Her back held spirit level,
Plane ideal Eyes closed and face serene in sensual thrall.

All there was foretaste, nuance,
All chaste – the changing rooms demure.

Warm evening’s loose allure drew both
To unintended rendezvous,
A mutual friend’s, both wished to stay away.

The place had room enough;

their glances met –
Under two spells,

all garments turned diaphanous;
Morning's disrobing kindled thoughts,
Fed impulses, hands touched.

One soft-shut door the cue;
Now lips met eyelids, cheeks, each other, clinched.

Her hand pressed on his crown, massaged
Through long-held breath; Tongues, lips were coiled, half-melted;
Squeeze of waist, they sank To tender press of thigh, of hips,
Drew back face to face, eyes’ pools immersed:

“You’re fleshed just right; a young girl's form;
Would you undress?”

“I saw you in your trunks; you're lovely; stay with me.”


Brief promenade, waists linked again,
Fast heartbeats deepened footsteps with suspense;

A whispered, tiptoed entry.
Pause for bathroom, care assuaged;
Last clothed embrace.

Heady the quivering ritual!
Each other answering,
Matching that morning's
graceful bathing strokes
Each touch of shedding nurturing the fires,
Each pull of buckle, lace, so lissom
In counterpoint with one soft lamp.

Aglow, with ardent youth restored,
Deep torso, shapely limbs
Emerge as sunrise, sunbathed, fresh;
Full muscles toned by swimming’s lathe,
Crescendo's throbbing, Two beauties, one revealing,
Beholder and Beheld!

She, supple, haunches swung, Tights loosened,

Down wardrobe obstacles!

He seized waistband elastic, swept
To open freedom, took the hand
That edged towards her bosom, up her arms
To ratify surrender, clip; asunder,
The final black cascade.

Flesh, bone and muscle interlocked
Shoulder to shoulder raised, clutched,
Borne to couch;
Breasts, armpits, cupped caress
Of tender skin over those thrusting orbs.

Now passion’s tide makes each wave overlap;
Slow motion’s generation;
Two sighs, one lunge, a soft rotation;
Slowing, near-stop; resume, deepening breath
Floating four full diminuendos.

A moment of near sleep; Sure premonition of fulfilment;

Now second wind’s tornado
Sweeps through exhaustion's trough
With power of ether’s depth beyond their bodies;
The sluicegates yield; one mighty flood In fusion melts volcanoes!

Brief satiation’s lull, unveiling heavens;
With dawn’s beams, morning replay,
Enhanced in fulness;
Two strengths, by first flames tempered,
With delicacy pure plumbed ocean's beds.
On dressing gowns, warm-robed, unrobed again
To plunge into the other end
Of water’s hot communion, splashing laughter.

A placid walk through petalled glades,
More smiles, more kisses;
Then wistful looks, and hints of jealousies,
And thoughts, as if to say
“Let’s not detract from this perfection”.

At length, fond waves and distances.

DV: Fond waves and distances, indeed! I can't imagine a more fitting way to close this session, other than to thank you for your generosity and clarity. I look forward to reading much more of your work (and seeing your pictures and listening to your songs).


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