What is this Perec-ish chimera if not an elegy, folded into an existential meditation, situated in a suite of sites used as formal constraints. I confess to being astonished and awed. The Inclination Compass is a surpassing text, a gargantuan arrival. Nodal, algorithmic, ergodic — is there anything else like it in Australian literature?
What would a poetry book be like that brings together Swedenborg, lunatic asylums, abandoned World War Two bunkers, homelessness, homing silvereyes, Shigeaki’s locker art, and much much more, using QR codes to take us into new sensory experiences, fusing film, music, theatre, visual art and poetry, that is a little like Beckett, a little like Joyce, a little like Tarkovsky, like and unlike Blake, where “lured into space by the gravitational pull of bright moons/ everyone woke up dead”? Such is Gareth Jenkins’ experimental tour de force. With its complex shifting layers and consistent
verbal flair The Inclination Compass demonstrates what a fully alive, truly innovative multi-media 21st Century epic poem might look like.
A visionary fever dream, a non-linear medley of incantations – The Inclination Compass is the surreal and immersive second collection from Anne Elder Award winning Gareth Sion Jenkins. These poems echo and haunt in their self-referential, regenerating narrative – they are forever remixing and unravelling themselves, whether you’re still reading them or not. This book is both like and unlike any poetry you’ve read before.
Although its technique and imagery allow pro table comparison with the writings of Francis Ponge and Samuel Beckett, The Inclination Compass exceeds the routine parameters of poetry and literature. As the remarkable culmination of an artlife project shaped by poetry, installation, performance, film and collage, which draws upon analytical psychology, fiction, philosophy and science, it is driven by a torrential creative ambition to discover new means of mapping phenomena, experience and the mind. Exploring the regions between dream, recollection, fantasy and the secret motivations of language, Gareth Jenkins shuns routine paths of knowledge, and that is one reason why the stunning, elusive imagery of The Inclination Compass observes its reader with understanding eyes.
The Inclination Compass is a highly original, ambitious, defamiliarising book that creates its own reality or inscape. Meditative and incantatory, the writing stretches out towards the non-verbalisable. The method is recombinant: it employs techniques of repetition combined with variation to create a fascinating permutational extravaganza. The intriguing multimedia elements embedded throughout the book — which combine sound, visual images, text performance, installation, gesture and dance — have their own repetitions and variations. These elements complement and contrast with the printed page, making the totality a richly layered, multi-sensory, multi-locational experience.