Praise and Poems
The poetry of Philip Ruthen scours the disorienting runnels of sensory and semiotic dissociation en route to new poetic combinations: imaginative responses to extroversions of reality administered on our behalves. Ruthen subverts objective views into subjective picturesque, spilling the jigsaw of language onto the page and reassembling its pieces into his own fragmented image-scapes of surreally lyrical, Rimbaudian urban miniatures. A faintly Teutonic touch to Ruthen’s tapered craftsmanship evokes a trope of Edmund Wilson’s on Germanic calligraphy: “thorny black-letter, like gratings of thick iron grill-work… agglutinated language” – indeed, it is in his ‘agglutination’ of verbal and cognitive antagonisms that Ruthen comes into his own, and throws a disinfectant light on the bleached bones of Symbolism.
Following his debut of industrial nocturnes, Jetty View Holding (2009), the Van Dyke-Parks-esque titled Apple Eye Feat opens onto startling new vistas of psychical surf.