Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Sunday, 8 December 2002

"Rembrandt Would Have Loved You" by Ruth Padel (Chatto & Windus, 1998)

I like "Icicles round a tree in Dumfriesshire", "The Musicians' Gallery" and "Moorings". Several of the pieces (especially those in the middle of the book) resemble anecdotes made to look like poetry by adding a metaphor and disruption (asides, interjections, indentation), and sometimes she seems to strain too hard. Compactness isn't always condusive to poetry: "The Horse Whisperer" ends with 'That confident, look-what-I've-got,/ Now-I-can-forget-about-her pride' which might better have been given more space (the rest of the poem's much less space-conscious). Nevertheless there's much to admire - more than I'd expected.

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