Anthony Costello was born in Halifax and lives in the Calder Valley.
He works as a self-employed gardener, dog-walker, tutor and bookseller.
His poetry collections include: The Mask (2014), Angles & Visions (2016), and the pamphlet
I Freeze, Turn to Stone: The Poems of Vincent van Gogh (2018).
He is the editor of Four American Poets (2016) and The Kava Poetry Lectures (2017).
Anthony is co-translator of Alain-Fournier: Poems (2016).
He was a co-founding editor and publisher at The High Window from 2016-2018.
Anthony Costello’s sequence of ten poems reimagines Rilke’s and Mahler’s great themes of love, death and time through the expansive reflections in John Ashbery’s convex mirror. Costello’s insistent question is Ashbery’s: ‘what is this universe the porch of?’ In lines that have the fluid rhythms of thought, Picture, Mirror, World draws the reader through its dizzying perspectives, unfolding the paradoxes of loss and transformation in which we live ‘poised at the point of rising and falling’.
Taken as a whole, or as individual poems, Anthony Costello’s lyrical reflections on the artistic and philosophical concerns of Mahler and Rilke are fresh, precise and challenging.
These poems are exquisite. Anthony Costello has managed to capture the genius of Rilke and Mahler. Bravo!
Of the Mirror being convex, the distance increases
Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the ranks
of the angels? If angels reside in us
then Mahler heard, his music answering—The First:
fruit, thorn, spring with no end, fanfare of joy.
Rilke’s art of polarised moods reflected
in Mahler’s move from paradise to wounded hearts,
deathly marches to peace in a painless death;
how (for example) Rilke’s fabled lovers, sapped
& spent back into nature (nature as a vessel
for all that’s lived & died), resurface in Mahler’s
music of love, myth, fairytale, folklore, history.
Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen,
the third movement, a Klezmer sound, estranged Round
‘Frere jacques’ (or bruder Jakob or bruder Martin),
calling forth a parade of animals, a hunter’s death,
his funeral adorned with strings and brass,
habitual dawn where the hero lives forever;
no sign of the new, the now, the city,
until trumpets announce a new dawn ishere.
Confusion of angels who don’t know if they
exist with the living, or with the dead,
angels as reflected—in a convex mirror—
where glimmers an orchestra playing
a Gustav Mahler symphony, a Titan, of sorts.