The introductory poem in The Museum of Rain suggests the reader leave her umbrella behind to enjoy the full experience. We are then invited into four galleries. Each gallery title references a poem in that gallery which embodies the theme. The first, Solving for Y, muses on geometric logic, tests, koans, mathematical problems in human relationships, and perceptions in art and biblical verse. The second gallery, The Reptile House, explores parables, parodies, Science Friday facts, species interrelationships and more, relating to fauna and (in one case) flora. The focus of the third gallery, Happy Trails, is auto-biographical. The fourth gallery, All Purpose Survival, offers personal observations about puzzles and challenges of living on our planet today, with a final hope for creative regeneration.
In Museum of Rain, treats for the reader are manifold. Gemma Mathewson is the Renaissance poet of our time, writing of many different phenomena in varying forms and from various points of view. Her own curiosity, her impulse to explore her more arcane subjects (the fascinating monotreme, for example) propel many of these poems. They seem to be offered for both our delight and our education and it is often her ﬁne sense of irony that makes the combination possible. She pays careful and respectful attention to the odd and the wonderful in the natural and human worlds. Dead serious on many subjects, she applies a puckish sense of humor to others, a wonderful way of proposing her acute and imaginative understanding of the elements of our worlds, internal and external. If forced to choose, though, I would say that the greatest pleasure of Ms. Mathewson’s work is the surprises of topic, perspective, and insight you ﬁnd there. You may come to this book intrigued; you will leave smarter in ways you’d never expect.
Gemma Mathewson is a master at the playful art of poetry. In Gemma’s playground, we are tickled with musings on topics large and small, such as the different meanings of star, what it means to be lesser than, and the oddities of speech mannerisms amongst in-laws. Her poems are both joyful and a joy to read, providing readers with both insight and delight.
Gemma Mathewson has written a book ﬁlled with poetry I wish I had written. It does not take long to recognize the voice of this poet reveals a brilliant mind with a mastery of words and their manipulation. Mathewson’s vocabulary is vast and fresh,while her poems can still be appreciated by any level reader. I did not want to stop reading it. Clever, funny, existential and thought provoking, its images and stories stay with you. Bravo.
In some of Gemma Mathewson’s poems the speaker is a social satirist with an acidic and antic wit and sharply ironic tone; in others the source of Gemma Mathewson’s inspiration is the close-knit family in its tolerance, compassion and acceptance. The voice is maternally nurturing, grandmotherly, even, in her wisdom around family life. Another speaker has a rationalist’s love of science and math and long lists of related images. In short Gemma’s range covers Dickens to Dickinson; however, her style and versiﬁcation are fully Modernist and Post-Modern in diction and musical quality.
—Francis E. Crowley, PhD