Six-way Mirror is a prose poem like no other. Borrowing its structure from the ancient Chinese classic the I Ching, it comprises 64 sections, each addressing a universal theme, from The Mirror to The Book, in short vignettes. The scope is panoptic, with hundreds of subjects ranging widely over time and space. In just the first ten sections we encounter: a schoolgirl mermaid; a dysfunctional tanning booth; a Death’s-head Hawkmoth; a Gypsy princess’s wedding; a Rococo teapot; a stray acorn found in a trouser pocket; the Defenestration of Prague; a god of ancient Egypt; arms trading in the desert; and a poltergeist.
As an alternative to conventional reading you are invited (in an introduction to discover your own pathway through the poem by throwing coins to cast a hexagram, which directs you to your starting point; subsequent sections are selected with the help of a hexagram chart. This optional way of reading reflects the poet's concern, among other things, with chance, causation and contingency.
Among the book's many satisfactions are its compelling realisations of a mutltiverse of phenomena – human, animal, inanimate and mystical. From condensed description or narrative a strange music is conjured, while some passages are riddlingly suggestive. Robert Saxton's offbeat wit is everywhere apparent, alongside a sensitivity to the intrinsic poignancy of much of what we experience and understand.
Published by Angle Shades Press, 2016
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