The word “spiritual” is, in this volume, ripped away from the New Age and returned to its sources in Kabbalah and early Christian (gnostic) writings. But it carries with it the world as we have it now. A heap of horrors, remnants, a sense of the feminine under assault, and the drive to love. Therefore the dimensions are multiple and unstable. To be human is to be a spiritual entity more aligned with nature than with culture, and therefore to rebel. I am happy to have and to hold this book.
If “experiences at the limit of what can be apprehended” be the working definition of “sublime”, then Miller’s is and is not a sublime work, since it hovers within and beyond the limits of what can be apprehended, and in this is a speculative and phenomenological poetry.
What the text of these Letters suggests, in part, is a meditation on the (im)possibility of a rationally conceived aesthetics of writing which would represent us in our moments of transcendence, in our acts of remembrance, in our experiences of poverty and isolation….
For me, Miller’s strength as a poet is in his decisiveness in poetic form. He has sharpened parataxis, a tool blunted by its long connection to one particular register in poetry, and he has achieved what sounds like a paradox; poems clearly relating to the modernist current, yet concerned with construction, understanding, and meaning.
It takes a strong writer to insist on the prose element in prose poetry. Miller succeeds by enjambing the stylistic signs of prose (direct speech, a narrator, even devices of plot) with parts that are poetry (sometimes lineated as such, more often as images and lines that simply by their referential and unhurried quality are poetry).
Through all the apparent fracture of Miller’s writing, what remains intact is the mystery of relationship, and its sanctity.
Miller’s endeavour will almost inevitably appear today as a work of extreme fragility – and of stubborn endurance also – at the margins of recognition, understanding and acceptance; a ghostwork, which questions and indeed undermines the solidity of prevailing semantic orthodoxies, from a fluid position between them.
…his achievement is far-reaching. He has opened up and, in many ways, returned poetry to the texture of living experience, to the original sense of the Greek poiesis: to the activity of our making and becoming.