Path of Descent and Devotion
poetry by Ilya Tourtidis
Words often have a ceremonial association, and when uttered, become an integral part of the initiation we face as individuals to experience those deep brooding landscapes where the what of existence is evoked, recognized and finally valued in all its mystery. Indeed, there is something numinous and profoundly freeing in such linguistic journeys where we observe realities being dissolved or raised up, and then recited or crafted as meaning.
In Path of Descent and Devotion, I sift through ineffable emotional movements and my longing to incarnate and surface with the message that the understanding I have often sought in my conscious life is most clearly visible in the shades and wonderings through an inner familiarity. My experience of descent is the long and holy sight that has urged me forward into the hollows of my soul... my devotion, the poetry of words that surface as re-enactment. Such is the substance of my depth in which I was bred, such is the glitter that channels my awakening to live fully and completely within my own sacred margins.
If anyone should ask, if anyone should inquire, say this, this much is true– that the gorgons resting in his gaze pulled his sovereign skin and rolled him to and fro as the moon rolled the handsome sea.
Visitations Of Sorrow
A handsome poet in vertigo sold his birthright to strangers and for a word he thought to be more beautiful than all earth's cathedrals. He sees now how his voice of weddings and doves teased out of the mouth of his saviour, comfort the gorgons as well. How hard his obsession, and how incurable his devotion which in the final analysis led him through those ancient depths where all things are twice born, and like love, never fail.
– Ed Varney
About the Author
Ilya Tourtidis was born in Greece in 1949. He moved to Australia when he was four years old and to Canada when he was fifteen. Educated at the University of Victoria, he worked as a teacher and later as a School Counselor in the Comox Valley where he now resides. He was Co-winner of the Gerald Lampert Award in 1994 for his first book of poems, Mad Magellan's Tale. A subsequent collection of his poetry, The Spell of Memory was published in 2004. This was followed by a further collection, Path of Descent and Devotion, published in 2009. In addition to poetry, Ilya Tourtidis also writes screenplays, novels, and children's stories.
"Ilya Tourtidis's poems rise out of the spiritual journey of the soul as it descends into the murky depths of doubt, despair, madness, and death to finally reemerge into the light. His poems chart the ebb and flow of his mind at the interface where consciousness and the subconscious meet and merge into each other. Below a starry night sky, the dark ocean of his feelings teems with drowned fish, ubiquitous nets, and the bones of the dead. But eventually morning arrives with sunlight, flowers, soaring birds, and blue sky. And then another stormy night descends.
Ilya's poems are important because they follow the twists and turns of the process of thinking. They are narrative, and they are not logical in the sense that one idea follows another in sequence. They proceed in fits and starts, they digress and weave a structure which includes metaphor, symbol, and myth and which spins like a top about to fall over. But they somehow remain in balance. When you read these poems, you are drawn into the complex workings of the poet's emotional thought where relationships are drawn into focus and then suddenly evaporate or morph into a totally different part of his imagination. It is not an easy road to drive and close attention is necessary but at the end you realize you have been given a gift, the gift of actually feeling the poems rather than simply understanding them."
– Ed Varney
"Path of Descent and Devotion is a cautionary tale about the effect of gravity on exhultation. What goes up, every kind of devotion, is brought down by the phenomenal world. Tourtidis' extraordinary energy and skill keep these poems, agonized particles of longing, in the air for as long as they will. He is a metaphysical poet, bewitched by transcendent possibilities, grounded in real time."
– Linda Rogers