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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Review of Amounting to Nothing by Paul Quenon

Like Tibetan prayer flags hung outdoors, pervading the natural world with wisdom and blessings before fading into invisibility, Paul Quenon’s newest poems, collected in his book, Amounting to Nothing, are wind-blown mantras of belief and renewal.

 Quenon, a Cistercian (Trappist) monk living at Gethsemani Abbey in rural Kentucky, atomizes himself into his wondrous community of creatures and phenomena. His self-deprecation informs both his wit and wisdom. Inconveniently, however, the poet's brand of humility questions even his own judgment and thus his attempts to measure out a life. A flaw perhaps, but also an artistic irritation and poetic spur.

 Abnegation of being or a merging with the divine holds the key for any good monk seeking holiness. In Quenon's opening poem, Mad Monk's Life Ambition, his persona tries to figure things out. Double negatives aside, clever word play animates the piece. For more of my review go here:  http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2019/06/amounting-to-nothing-poems-by-paul.html 

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