By: Jake Berry
Reviewed by: Sue B. Walker
Barrytown/Station Hill Press, Inc., 2005
Brambu Drezi: Words that define liberation, that are beyond boundaries, that testify to the genius of Jake Berry. Brambu Drezi: a Wittgensteinian rendering of: “We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all. But of course there is then no question left and just this is the answer.” Brambu Drezi is an answer. It is without definition; it is a master poem, three books in one, a [dis]connected process, experiential musicology, a study in sound, line, and beat and flow and genesis of what has been and is, collated into an Eliotic time present. It is a visionary experiencing, a composition, pataphysics, graphic innovation, a scientific, religio-mythic, psychoanalytic, philosophic, historic work that Bob Grumman refers to as a “super-eclectic, vergo-visio-mythomatico yow of an epic.”
Brambu Drezi: a poetic encapsulation of the eye. Jake Berry asks the reader to see the disconnections and connections that evolve, indeed resonate, through an experiencing of what has been known and said and thought, what has been stirred in a sort of primordial soup of being in the world. The eye in various envisionings takes in Berry’s textual horizon and sensually [re]views it. What the reader sees becomes his own passage “through the edge and out into the empty” where time and space are filled in and through perception.
Brambu Drezi: Jake Berry says that he doesn’t know where the words came from. He said that they came one day when he was playing with his cat. “I always make up words when I’m talking to him,” Berry says. The words seemed “like words of power—resonating in the spine, but it almost seems there is actually something called Brambu Drezi, but I don’t know what, other than my poem. . .” And the reader should not ask: “What is it?” but rather go and make a visit, delve into the poem, and be swept into the majesty of it. What coheres is the reader’s own ongoing process of experiencing.
As Jack Foley points out in the blurb on the back of Brambu Drezi, “[t]he real question Berry’s work raises is not ‘What does it mean?’ but ‘Where do we go from here? Like the millennium it mirrors so accurately, this great visionary work is not an end but a beginning.”
In summation, it is not too far-fetched to claim that Jake Berry has set about reforming the world even as he lives in Florence, Alabama, with his wife and cats.
Sue Walker is the Poet Laureate of Alabama and Chair of the English Department at the University of South Alabama.