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.

Friday, 17 February 2012

"Ken's Poetry Book" by Ken Osborne (2012)

Ken's Poetry Book is a Web alternative to a poetry book. It's beautifully presented with themed sections and a section of favorites, augmented by photos and audio files (I think there's a trace of a Welsh lilt there). Each page has a box for replies.

Though it doesn't say in the Acknowledgments, some of the poetry's already been published, and has won prizes (a few hundred pounds in total, I'd guess). Much of the poetry has to be read in the context of the supplied biographical notes.

For the purposes of this review I decided to focus in the favorites selection (currently 18 poems). My favorite's Mask, though I also like Hawk, Trumpeter's Kiss, and Abandonment (for the content, sound or both). Many of the other pieces have quotable parts too. Here's a selection

The moon has the sound of an empty sky
a balloon of a sound at the edge of the eye
immune to the crackle of stars floating by. (from "Moon Song")

Now, as rockets splash on sky
I long to touch whatever it was
I thought worth keeping, prise off
the lid that clamps my memory,
take back the childhood
burned out of my heart. (from "An Old Tea-Chest")

and I realized, among those old fishermen
smoking their clay pipes on the promenade
that I passed a thousand times as a boy,
was my grandfather .. who never said.

I met my father twice. It was enough
until I watched his coffin to the flame. (from "For The First Time (1993)")

'Child Abuser’
I wrote beside his name,
as if the world would note,
people passing rage,
the sky fill with family ghosts
to storm around his grave:

but only the trees will see (from "St Mary’s Churchyard Walmer ")

Sometimes I feel that the middle-eight/bridge sections sag a little, maybe the odd line could go here and there. And the image in Gem of dull pebbles becoming gems when wet, though a variant of the common usage, might need a tweak. However, there's enough life experience and poetry to keep you busy for a long while - go and leave some comments.

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