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Om Silent Poems
The calculated instabilities in Ellis's poems are self-reflexively composed from his subtle shiftings between 'I', 'you' and 'it', in a very original re-inventing of a form of expressionism in which the self warps what it encounters but simultaneously is warped by the pressure exerted by the implied presence of alien subjectivities, and the explicit presence of a fragmentary world of defamiliarised objects. Because they share similar philosophical influences, the poet Ellis most resembles is Paul Celan, and his own practice can be helpfully explicated by reference to what Celan says about himself in his prose piece 'Conversation in the Mountains':Hardly has an image entered than it gets caught in the web, and already present is a thread which begins to spin, which spins itself around the image, a veil-thread; spins itself around the image and begets a child in conjunction with it, half-image, half-veil.Ellis has invented a thoroughly english-language version of Celan-like preoccupations, with his own quite separate set of personal symbols, and he should be cherished for this invention of an uncanny and exotic, yet oddly familiar and homely, poetic.