A poetic examination of what’s waiting just beneath everyday experience.
Finalist for the 2017 Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize presented by Utica College
As the title suggest, the poems in R. S. Mason's Nearer to Never paradoxically comprise a book of the unmanifest, a poetic examination of what's waiting just beneath everyday experience. Recalling Blake, Baudelaire, and Eliot, Mason addresses the innately sacred, melding philosophy, aesthetics, and Buddhist precepts into a lyrical work that is truly modern and avant-garde.
Rendered in a straightforward lyrical style, the poems are oddly comprehensible, at times darkly humorous. The language is fresh, elemental, and ludic; the writing is clean, direct, and empowered. Some poems wrestle with the conclusion that life reduces itself to some mere, otherworldly absence; while others reveal the false prison of the ideal, either humanistically or religiously constructed.
The poems invite a reader's most intimate aesthetic engagement, through the technique of radical doubt or, in the Buddhist tradition, "beginner's mind"—whereby each poem unlocks. In his debut, Mason drives poetry beyond the well-worn schisms established in the previous century, successfully showing that the irreconcilable can cohere, and the inexpressible can, at the most, be sketched.
R. S. Mason lives in upstate New York.