Review by Dave Wade

Dave Wade is the photographer of two books, The World of Louise May Alcott (Harper Collins), and The World of the Trapp Family (Anderson Publishing). He was also a contributing photographer for the book Portland Through The Lens. He has served on the board of the Creative Portland Corporation, and is former Chairman of the Board of WMPG Community Radio in Portland, Maine, where he hosts a jazz show Wednesday afternoons, Juke Jive ’n Jazz, WMPG 90.9 FM.

Gil Helmick is a well traveled author who is familiar to the poets of Portland, Maine as the long time performer and advocate of Port Veritas, a weekly gathering of spoken word and open mic readings where both well known and obscure poets have gotten up to take a shot at their ten minutes of fame or to go down flaming. His hunger for a lively exchange of creative ideas is what keeps him going. Author of several collections of poetry, Gil’s poem “The Evolution of Apocalypse” was turned into part of a jazz opera performance at The Lyceum in Brooklyn.

Helmick has recently returned from an artist’s residency in Belgium, where he has family roots, and this book is the culmination of that journey. The Cacophony of Rapture is a travelogue, in his own words, “somewhere between art and confession, ambushed by beauty, delirious, ecstatic . . .”

Even in that remote residency, world affairs were never far away enough for Helmick not to hear the deafening din of the technological arms race. In his protest poem “My Name Is Silence,” he exposes the secret identity of the vast encryption machine as it grinds us toward mass surveillance, rogue algorithms and a mad climax of mutually assured destruction.

As in any adventure, there are as many impediments and pitfalls as there are moments of luminous beauty to behold. And sometimes there is a sense of a world weariness, and disillusionment, when a path chosen turns out to be a dead end, somewhere out there on “the highway to oblivion.” But the journey is endless, to a place “beyond ecstasy,” toward “ he glory of emptiness.” On the way, the author rubs shoulders with the murderous and the mundane, while always trying to reconcile with the eternal. . . . It is a thoughtful journey, that often delights in its futility as it pursues a date with destiny, somewhere beyond “the lost horizon of dreams.”