Being Psilly by Samuel John Ross

Published in 2011, Samuel John Ross’ collection of poetry ‘Being Psilly – Illustrated Poems 1999-2005’ is a beautiful blend of playful language and illustration, which along with the type-face, was also created by the author. Aside from poetry, Ross also heads up – a website for visionary art, psychedelic poetry and alike.

The stories and meditations of Being Psilly are steeped in psychedelic imagery and Ross deftly employs the tripping theme in interesting ways, without falling into worn motifs and repetition. Questions of a personal nature, in self and relationships, are neatly entwined with the larger questions of life, the universe and everything; but always with a humour both dark and open. Poems like Youtopia and TheXpectATIONS of emptiNess ed hint at and play with more raw and troubled times; while others like Something Beautiful evoke lighter, but no less deeper, passions. Ross captures the glint of emotion and, with a lush linguistic dance, the setting and pace of his theatres too.

Words are soundly enriched when surrounded by hand-drawn, parachuting liberty caps, as the following are: “Fell off the tree, that may be / but no floor bangs your face / as you fall from paradise / and out into space…”. Although a dulcet amble enthuses the whole collection, allowing the reader to flow happily and quickly through its course, there is too much personality within the body of each individual poem not to warrant closer inspections along the way. From Elf Sex Plantary Too: “Is it strange to think / Every parcel of space / Contains an orgy of invisible creatures / That fuck to create? / Not babies, or pictures / No – their orgasm twitches / Are the stitches holding / Reality’s unfolding / In place…“.

Overall, a superb collection of entertaining and thoughtful poetry. There is a limited edition print run of one hundred copies: See  for more details.

Via the House

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8 Responses

  1. Cameron says:

    I was given a copy of this book at Breaking Convention in Canterbury, about a year ago. I treasure it as a beautiful and unique work of art. Thanks Sam!

  2. Jackrabbi says:

    I want to add to the praise for this book, which I bought online last year. It’s a consistent and fully-realized evocation of a vision that’s both deeply personal and deeply collective. Rob Dickins’ citation of the quotation from Elf Sex Planetary Too is apt; the lines exemplify Sam Ross’s many closely-observed depictions of psychedelic moments; Sam’s observations remind one of those of a scientist, a naturalist — though he is more of a supernaturalist. From him, we learn how the individual and the cosmos are interwoven. His words stretch and transform like natural elements. His poems and illustrations are like 21st century Celtic knots. Full respect and admiration to this artist. “We are prisms not prisons.”

  3. SirRealEyes says:

    Thanks for a great review Rob, feels good to be gotten!

    & Cheers for the kind comment Cameron, really appreciate it. Look forward to the next Breaking Convention big time!

    Just wanted to add that I’ve noticed a few people searching for downloads of Being Psilly, it’s not available online but I have put up another book of illustrated poetry here: …I created ReCReate Weality specifically to gift, so anyone’s welcome to it, but please note it took me just over a week whereas I worked on Being Psilly over a few years so the two aren’t really comparable in that sense (but it will give you an idea of my work)… there are actually a couple of slightly modified pages from Being Psilly in there, notably: Elf Sex Planetary & yoUtopia.


  4. albo says:

    I got a copy through the post yesterday and i love it 🙂 its an awesome piece of work, its an absolute pleasure to look at and too read, thanks to Rob for reviewing it and thanks to Sam for creating it 🙂

  5. SirRealEyes says:

    Albo, Jack, really appreciate your comments… The rabbiting rabbi sees the celtic knotness, this particularly pleases me! For me the old folks’ knots really are about the intwinity of man & Cosmos. This sentence once came out my mouth before I’d had the chance to think it:

    “You can’t separate infinity from infinity… that’s what the celtic knot – isn’t – saying.”

  6. Pointy says:

    I met Sam a few years ago and loved this book. But where to get it now? the fleshprism link is dead and it doesn’t seem to be on general release. If I remember rightly, the bar code was way too far out to be readable by your regular bar code reader 😉

  7. Pointy says:

    Cheers Rob … I guess not then

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