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.

Friday, 13 January 2006

"To a Fault" by Nick Laird (faber and faber, 2005)

Acknowledgements mention TLS, LRB, Poetry Review and Jorie Graham.

Lines usually appear in 2s and 3s. Page 8 is centred. Why not? Why? Page 11 should have a prose layout. It's unclear whether page 40 has a prose layout. Page 16 is strictly metered. Stick 2 images together and you get poetry - or "Poetry" on page 5 (at least they're good images). "The Length of a Wave" and "A Portrait of the Artist as a Joke" are fine though.

In short, there's an aesthetic principle that I can't fathom regarding the format, and some of the poems aren't as good as the imagery they contain - the images should have waited longer in the notebook for an opportunity to arise. But the best poems would have deserved mention in the "Next Generation" list.

Here's a stanza from "Done"

And like the window of a jeweller's after closing
the shelves in the study offer up nothing.
I slowly take the steps down one by one,

Other stanzas in this poem have 3 lines too, and are roughly this width - don't ask me why, but it might be the cause of the padding - "jeweller's window"? - and why no final comma on the first line? And why doesn't the poem end with a full stop?

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