Scratches & Deeper Wounds

Reviewed by Sourav Sangiri MA(English) India

Talking about the subject matter of his poetry, the Nimbin settled artist and poet Rob Harle says;
My concern is to explore the phenomenon of consciousness and our ‘apparent’ aloneness in this universe”
Scratches and Deeper Wounds is Rob’s first collection of poems published by Spinning Spider Publications, Australia.
It comprises in its sixty one pages thirty nine poems that deal with both personal and collective mosaic of experiences.
As a creative artist, Harle’s world revolves around art and architecture where ‘Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty’.
The poem To Be Human is elegant in style and it deals with the modern day electronic world where humanity is getting
lost into oblivion:

The mind deserts the body/As electronic components flash”
Rob Harle used beautiful expressions in this poem to highlight the seminal aspect of the poem:

Our primitiveness is challenged daily/By an insidious digital invasion.”
Our human universe is constantly getting challenged by the digital universe:

This chip is God’s new mask/Enshrined in miniature.”
We get a glimpse of his artistic self in the poem Nothing Ever Changes where Rob refers to ‘Van Gogh’ and
‘the Louvre Gallery’:
..once in a lifetime chance, to dance/with Van Gogh and the crew from the Louvre.”
The modern electronic and digital universe has influenced his poetry a lot. Sometimes he speaks in his verse of
the degeneration of humanity and sometimes the superhuman power of the human being who want to cross all the limits.
The Man who Would be God (A Genetic Engineer) reverberates the theme of superhuman capacity in human beings. It
resembles the Renaissance concept of ‘the Vitruvian Man’ who is at the centre of everything and who can conquer the
whole universe from North Pole to South Pole.

He’ll know from his dictionary of DNA/His lexicon of life/The gene that makes us laugh/The gene that makes us cry.”
The use of scientific terms like ’genotype’, ’DNA’, ’clones’ etc proves Rob’s scientific consciousness. Rob ends the the poem
in a fabulous way where he equals human with machine; where it is about capturing one’s place by the other.
Towards A Centre is a journey towards the centre of Creation; a journey from the state of consciousness to the state
of trance:
moving forward in trance.”
Search For Reality projects Rob’s artistic consciousness where the poet is an artist creator. The structure resembles
the seminal theme of the poem; a journey towards ‘Self’. Rob questions, ”Is life a literal or metaphoric illusion?”
Rob quotes Jonathan Livingston Seagull at the beginning of this collection:

“…lost on a painted sky/Where the clouds are hung/For the poet’s eye/You may find me…”
When we whisk through the pages of this commendable collection we can trace out different selves of Rob – artistic,
poetic, imaginative and creative. In the rich universe of literary tradition in Australia, Rob Harle is certainly a significant
member and his style has close uncanny proximity with contemporary Indian English poets from the Eastern part of India
like Jaydeep Sarangi, Rabindra K. Swain and Rudra Kinshuk. Therefore, I’m reminded of Jaydeep Sarangi’s famous line,
“poetry connects continents.”

This review was published in Beyond The Rainbow Sept/Oct 2013 Mousetrap Media Australia


This review was published in  Nimbin Good Times, Nimbin Australia