We enter the Paleolithic, at the dawn of art-making. Humans have evolved into adept hunters who know the world with their senses and their dreams. The poet envisions a Boy, a teen-ager, who is being prepared by his mother for his first hunt. He is successful and kills a doe. That night, a girl comes to him for the first time. In a dream, once again he tracks a doe and finds himself in a cave occupied by his mother’s totem, the bear.
Caveboy is a finely-tuned work of imagination, in which the poet calls forth the Mother who dreams her Boy, now art-maker and hunter, home.
She’d caressed him, his downy cheek,
as softly as she could with a hard palm. When her hand held his to make
him stand, he was still her creature.
No one else’s. She knew this better than anyone, better even than
his father would know
who belonged to whom, as long as there was life. By making her Boy
from her life, she left her print in him.
Caveboy is a chapbook in stanzas, presented as a Multi-Touch book, with readings by the author.
Reinvigorating old traditions for the 21st century.
Having watched Caveboy grow from a few sonnets, I can personally attest to just how remarkable the poetic journey of my friend Mary-Sherman Willis has been. From the urban landscape of Washington, DC, Willis travels in geography and time to the cave paintings of prehistory to ask: what is it about the human condition that compels us to leave our mark on walls? What motivates us to use the tools at hand, whether raw pigment or a spray can of paint, to declare "I am here"? Both the limited edition art book and Apple iBook for iPad pulse with the artwork of Collin Willis, offering a feast for the senses. I believe the iBook, which includes animation and a touch function that enables you to hear the author read the poem on the screen, stands to revolutionize the way the we consume, apprehend, appreciate poetry, uniting and reimagining the oral and written traditions of this ancient artform for the twenty-first century.
Katherine E. Young, poet and translator