After-Images: Homage to Éric Rohmer
July 2019. 89 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-73-2
£10.50 (+ 2.00 p&p), €11.00 (+ 2.00 p&p), US$13.00 (+ 3.00 p&p)
“This remarkable collection, inspired by Eric Rohmer’s films, pushes ekphrastic poetry to a new, original and highly accomplished dimension. A variety of forms such as free verse, rhyming couplets, sonnets, prose all enmesh to express the colour flavour and philosophical impact of Rohmer’s films, while forming a distinct genre of their own. Silence, gestures, actions, conversations – all redolent of the films – create a verbal atmosphere of their own."
“After-Images is essentially a love letter to French film maker Eric Rohmer. Johae’s recollections of Rohmer’s oeuvre – the colours, the landscapes and characters, are revisited with such beauty, succulence, precision, and intimacy they lead the reader inexorably back to the original films. A lyrical and closely observed collection from a devotee.”
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Table of Contents
Excerpts from After-Images: Homage to Éric Rohmer
Prelude (L’Ami de mon amie)
I saw Blanche in a whitened city
Walking the mall in a pale dress
Surfing under clouds of cotton
Drinking cool wine outside a café
Talking at length to an innocent boy
Shyly smiling at her party guests.
I saw her swimming in apple water
Walking the olive bank of the Oise
Gazing at the hazy city
Beyond the ancient hunting forest
Holding him in a green glade
Trees a circle of rustling kisses.
I saw her again in a glowing room
Magenta roses in a fluted vase
Cherries ready on a crystal dish
Curtains coloured by a lowering sun
He touching her vivid face
She enfolding herself in grace.
A seagull sounds outside. I lie by you,
Your limbs like stone cut to a fine form
Though warm to touch and breathing light into the dawn.
As touch you draw me lightly and we're no more two
But one another in the day’s dark blue.
We're still as glossy beach stones lying love-worn
On our so-safe bed, a passing ship's horn
Could not move us to our window with a view.
The sun’s busy now and would wake us to the world
But you are still sleeping, white as marble touched with red
Though no gross monument, rather tant soit peu – a pearl.
The sea's in, sunshades up, bathers browning, and you're still in bed.
Now let's finish with tropes – I'll talk no more of stones.
Open your windows – awake my love – get up you lazy-bones!
Reviews of After-Images: Homage to Éric Rohmer
"It's almost as if Antony Johae comes away from the film and then writes the screenplay, scene by remembered scene, giving us this other version, this as valid a version. So that in reading the poem one imagines the film, its characters, settings; and one lingers as the camera might over an almost irrelevance. [...] what he gives us are our very own re-imagined French New Wave. Because these post-scripts are works of carefully thought-through art in themselves."
"Antony Johae's poems in After-Images are wonderful examples of how film can be a fertile ground for poetry. [...] His cinematic portrayal of background is an integral part of the art of each of his poems and avoids the heavy scene-setting and over-elaboration of much of today's poetry. [...] The book's introduction is a very helpful poem-by-poem explanation by the author."
"The poems in Antony Johae's second collection collectively constitute something of an extended love song to the films of Èric Rohmer. Readers who share Johae's passion for Rohmer's work will find much to enjoy here, and readers unfamiliar with the films may feel inspired to explore them. The achievement of the best of these poems is to recreate the texture of Rohmer's oeuvre in a variety of memorable forms."
"One does not need to know the films, however, to enjoy this collection. Johae has a deft hand with narrative; he may follow the plot of the films but adds his own ‘take’. The collection, as an ekphrastic response, has its own filmic rhythm, moving between shots and scenes of the characters. […] Another interesting aspect of After-Images. is the way in which relationships are portrayed. Clearly the characters are those in the films, but Johae creates a sense of drama and vitality as he sets out dialogue between characters. […]This is a technically accomplished collection with varied use of form and rhyme as well as genre which keeps the reader’s interest. […]We can escape to Rohmer’s world through this collection."
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