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, 12 November 2006

"Fiction" by Conor O'Callaghan (The Gallery Press, 2005)

Let's take the first 4 poems.

  • "Coventry" has 2 paragraphs, their conceptual parallelism emphasised by verbal parallelism.
  • "Nineteen Eighty-five" takes us back to summers
    of believing the nuclear winter can be sat out

    with back issues of Reader's Digest and curried beans,
    of afternoons rewinding through When the Wind Blows
    on a video recorder the size of a dialysis machine
    and a dog that
    ... isn't seen again despite its owner's weeks of hope
    and the ads in shops about it answering to 'Gorbachev'
    It works in the same way that prose works. Compare its subject matter and use of form with David Hart's Then in the twentieth century
  • "Lovelife - The First Flush" is 6 more lines of nostalgia, rather more tightly packed this time.
  • "Gloves" (one page-long stanza, short-lined) uses the insides of gloves in various ways as simile/metaphor.

There's sufficient variety and interest to make me want to read on. There's a poem in landscape mode, list poems ('Fall', 'Other titles in this series'), more nostalgia poems, and in 'This is Her First Publication' a pretty straightforward account of a success. The taste for idioms reminds me of Armitage. He seems to deal with various subjects appropriately and well as far as language is concerned, and yet the need to have all stanzas of a poem the same shape endures.

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