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.

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

"Take Me with You" by Polly Clark (Bloodaxe, 2005)

I liked "The Voyage of the Rays" and especially "Elvis the Performing Octopus". Several other poems also have their moments. She uses lists of images (perhaps "waves" or "narratives" is more accurate than "lists" - shades of Selima Hill). She uses situations which seem to offer few possibilities but she manages to suffuse them with emotion and intent. It helps of course that her subject matter is often "love", whose emotive power radiates so strongly that most anything can serve as a correlative. Speaking of bottles at a bottle-bank she writes

They fall one by one into the dark.
Will you love this? Forever? I ask

Some of the imagery has a derivative feel though - a swan is "a pure white question,/with its underwater dream in tow" and "Far below a fishing boat chugged/like a toy, pushing its blue V". She too has the "all stanzas must have the same number of lines" affectation. Reviews of the book are on her website.

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