Pondering the Depths | Review of ” The sea with no one in it” by Niki Koulouris (2013) The Porcupine’s Quill

Most of the planet is covered in water and it is easy to ignore that fact. But poet Niki Koulouris has pondered the ocean and has brilliantly put her observations in a collection call The sea with no one in it.

Page 11



I’m fond of ships

their progress,

the turning weather

for they are never without alternatives

and they may contain the whole population of the mountains

their disasters leave us without suspicion;

leave us stranger


I’ve seen the ocean once

and I know it has potential

the only way to look at it

is as if it is familiar

there must be more to this than tides,

forgetting language,


the centre of the city;

I want to understand the voyage

these qualms beneath my feet.

It is almost a shame to add my few words to the wonderful observations that are in this small volume. The thoughts are clear and artistic. And if this book is taken to a quiet corner and pondered, the reader’s mind is clearly enlightened in many ways.


Page 37

24 . (for Jackson Pollock)


In a pact with an owl

you wade through

the cramped reflections of a lake

so many nights on short fuse wire

you drive like a gelding


through fog

through headlights

those two canoes

lifted like sleepers

This is a wonderful first read and a wonderful re-read. A must for any library.


Where were stars before Rome

another Rome

and who are these tourists looking

at Michelangelo’s David

as if he were an undressed skin diver

in a glass elevator held up

for some reason on the second floor


therein holding his slingshot over his shoulder

his shins like the undersides of twin sharks

bare feet yet to defy the minefields of a modern city

or walk over star-deep linoleum

to meet the shallow-wristed tide

from where he might consider hurling

that stone into the water.

Niki Koulouris’ s reflections in The sea with no one in it are profound and bold. A carefully crafted piece of work that should be read again and again.


Link to The Porcupine’s Quill’s page for The sea with no one in it


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