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.

Monday, 19 July 2010

"Bundle o' Tinder" by Rose Kelleher (Waywiser Press, 2008)

Winner of the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, 2007. It makes me wonder again about the relation of form to content, especially whether Form-writers nowadays feel an obligation to be understood, to play safe on the side of verbosity. (in the "Lovesick" sonnet there's "my every cell is altered now; each bears your stamp, ... every drop of me adulterated ... It's in my hair, my fingernails") and what the form does to the content at line-breaks and endings. In the first section ("God") the endings are closed, plea for closure, or hint at infinity, but whatever the subject matter the same tendencies are evident.

We move from God to Science. At the end of "Rays at Cape Hatteras" there's a neat touch, the rays' "flight is brief and clumsy, evolution having cursed these would-be herons with the flesh of fish: rude fliers in the face of disbelief"

The "People" section is a mixed bag, an alternation of interesting and thinner poems, poems like "Laissez-Faire" being saved by their final couplet.

"Perversity" is the most diverse section. The longer poems ("At Sea" and "Noted Sadomasochists") are internally diverse quality-wise. In "At Sea", "Breakers" and "Sea monster" seem far better than "Pup". I liked "Gulp".

And then there's "Love", which starts with some of my favorite pieces.

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