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.

Saturday, 2 April 2005

"The Never-never" by Kathryn Gray (seren, 2004)

Douglas Dunn thinks her poetry "delightfully accessible", and the blurb says this collection is "among the most readable ... collections of recent years". Here's the start of "The Wardrobe"

This wood is not about the old wives and the oak
or the ash that separates a summer from a soak.
and here's the start of "Ruskin"
It's not meant as design but accident,
in commentary gone beyond cliché:
a cinematic carrier bag's contents
of dark, ebbed slow-mo down sidroads, say;

("sidroads" is a typo I presume). Or here's something from "The Watch"

lip-read ticks next to velour coastal shelves
of nine carat wedding rings

Sophisticated, I'd say. Certainly not "compelling tales". I suppose the blurbs were chosen to ward off accusations of obscurity. The blurb mentions formal skill. "Ruskin" is a sonnet. Several poems comprise loosely rhymed couplets. "Guilt" has loosely rhymed triplets. I can see little evidence of metrical/syllabic constraints though. Even in the sonnet the metre's as loose as the rhyme. Some poems might be laid out as ragged-right prose - it's hard to tell.

I like "The King's Head" but most of the pieces are beyond me. They may be excellent.

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