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.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

"The Probabilities of Balance" by Stephen Payne (Smiths Knoll, 2010)

The 4th pamphlet of a mentoring scheme that continues to deliver the goods. The title's a quote from a six-liner, "Unicyclist" which ends "weighing the probabilities of balance/ and defying them/ on his reinvented wheel". "Guitar" is short and neat too - here's the start: "It's part of the furniture,/ slumped open-mouthed against a wall,/ sleeping off the party.". Poems like "Watch" maintain this pace and depth all the way through. So do poems like "Guessing Game" but the increased narrative content make me read it more as Flash. I liked "The Pool" too. "At Carlton" seemed the weakest.

"The Fractal Library" has references that I suspect many will miss. It's loosely terza rima, beginning with "He drifts in silence around the cliffs of language" which introduces the bookcase=cliff analogy and the notion of coast (which has a dimensionality between 1 and 2) where 2 elements meet. The poem ends "How long/ this coast where curiosity meets knowledge?". It depends how closely you look.

There's some rhyme, even a near-sonnet.

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