Geomantic riposte: 'The Invisible Library'

Paul Wilson was born in Lacombe, Alberta and in addition to his five collections of poetry, has contributed to his city of Regina, Saskatchewan and beyond as a key cultural worker, editor, and publisher. Along with a number of other laurels, it is highly noteworthy that his latest collection of poetry The Invisible Library is currently nominated for three 2014 Saskatchewan Book Awards, with the recipients to be announced later this month. This collection emphasizes the way the author and ourselves enjoy a personal engagement with books that can require intense emotional investment, sometimes even centuries later. When speaking about The Invisible Library, Paul Wilson refers us to the quote from William Carlos Williams in Spring & All:

In the imagination, we are from henceforth (so long as you read) locked in a fraternal embrace, the classic caress of author and reader. We are one. Whenever I say, “I” I mean also, “you”. And so, together as one, we shall begin. 

 Then if we get antsy and turn ahead to Williams’ poem about the barber and mortality, we may wonder what that has to do with the price of eggs—Nothing ... absolutely nothing! Only that is how poets communicate, through the medium and irresistible magnetism of other poets, and for me, that is what this book is ‘about’.

The Invisible Library by Paul Wilson (Hagios Press, 2013, Page 40)


We leave them everywhere, as if they were nothing,

as if each small smudge were not a redoubling

of the language of the skin. If we could read

the finger prints of Plato, would they make a poem,

or a polemic? Would Whitman’s prints

read like the pale fingers of a child

who will not hold out a hand for the rod?

Whitman feels the rain’s faint pulse on his thin

bent fingers – a spider on a night window. Sleepless,

he touches every book in the room, as if his touch

could speak and at once know nothing.


Our finger-prints are small saline lakes

that will outlast us. They will corrode

into the surfaces of the things we thirsted for

and discarded. In our inattention, we will never

know what we have written in our small true whorls.


Geomantic Riposte: Conspiracy


The book that began with Rembrandt’s civic disobedience is

shelved     soon learning one’s dirty linen (ie. history) cannot

hang in City Hall    then the amount of aggravation and self-

pollution we have over the dead, making phantoms of those

living       (supposedly) down with the magnetism of poetry

Plato would be like other folks along the storm drain      or

period scholars who flee poets with the same suspicion     Is

it worth our while to hold vigil for magic unlocked from the

unknown name of the young woman at Ultracuts who forms

fascinating whorls akin to crop circles in her own language

of diverse locks and should the Local Improvement Program

allocate a lump sum for poetry that imbues the gutter with

near-incoherent beauty       flitting by the one narrow eye of

urban planner    “literally” a conspiracy with manger lighting