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.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

"Wave" by Pat Borthwick (Templar, 2007)

A pamphlet whose acknowledgements have to be in a small font to fit on a page. The first poem, "Visit", (ostensibly about a moth) has enough imagery to show why so many of the poems have been published. It ends

O mighty little thing I cannot name,
the Moon must have spooned you in
between the tides of my curtains

I'm not sure about all the pieces though. In "Until I Did" the curious persona finds brother's naughty mags and father's condoms, ending with There were many other things/ I didn't understand/ until one day, I did, which is a rather predictable ending. In "A son" is "quant" a typo? Is the son dead, alive only in memory? Or is he alive, his absence like death? It begins "You'd have been a young man now" then later says "Do you remember when you were six", "Our hands are still stained and clotted". It could have been his birth or death on "the day I had to use my overnight case".

I liked the start of "Snow" Snow began quietly, like we did,/ And then I heard you everywhere. "In The Consulting Room" didn't work for me - a shame, because it was a 2-pager. A number of the poems feel 25% too long to me, extended slightly beyond their natural span, but "The Collectors" and "Grass" are ok. "Beech House" is my favourite - a character portrait with poetic phrasing and movement. Its moth imagery harks back to "Visit". There's snow too, and confusion, and at the end talk of the moon and home concludes with Do you know our module only has one ascent engine?/ There is never a second chance?

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