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.

Thursday, 27 October 2005

"Making the most of the light" by Matt Merritt (HappenStance, 2005)

Here's someone who's at home with words, aware of the double meanings latent within phrases. Described using such phrases, events become analogies for relationships/moods in flux. Some poems are extended tacit similes; sustained double-meanings - "Comeback" is about snooker, though well before it ends with "For all the times we worried/about keeping/one foot on the floor." you know it's about something else too. In such poems, which work on 2 levels, rapid switches are hard to pull off, but this poet shows he can write other styles of poetry where shifts in tone and context can be rapid, though not confusing. Here's the start of "Director's Cut"

The umpteenth repeat -

how the earth, once the greying satellite
of a distant, dying sun, slowly centred itself

beneath your feet. How your horoscope had
hinted as much, and how I walked the eight

aching miles home when you made me miss
the last bus.

"Cure" doesn't hang around either. The first stanza sets the mood with apt observation and imagery, then surprizes

Wait for one of those wide open October days.
Wake early to hear the house stretch its aching frame.
Feel the heat start to sing through its veins.
Fall asleep again

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