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.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

"Venetian Red" by Sue Hubbard (Hearing Eye, 2005)

20 poems from "Acumen", "Ambit", "Iron", "Writing Women", etc, on unnumbered pages. Parenthood and people in paintings are the most common themes, as are messages in the form of objects, letters, phone-calls, and bee dances.

The poems I'm not keen on lose little from being paraphrased. In "Letter to my son" a parent slips a letter under a door realising that "Now I must woo/ and cajole you, a stranger,/ admit my fault". "Splinters" begins with "Splinters usually work their own way out/ if not they can stay embedded in soft flesh/ generating their own poison" which is rather sedate, and all too obviously the splinter becomes a metaphor for an other. "Across the city" is a two-pager - middle-age musings in the morning, ending with - "For how are we to live? ... What other possibilites unfurl,/ as we wait in the quiet of vacant/ rooms, for our futures to define us?". Indeed.

"Blight" contains "hearing his words unblocked something in her like the/ cleaning of a faucet or a drain ... she cries because she knows each day on waking// she is older, the callous indifference of ageing ... the loss of illusion and this searing emptiness", phrases that can only work with the benefit of dramatic irony at the expense of the persona. I prefer the pieces about artists' models, and the sentiments of several of the poems ("Letter to my son", etc).

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