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, 25 January 2014

"Of science" by David Morley and Andy Brown (eds) (Worple Press, 2001)

The preface begins

This book is a sample of poems by contemporary poets who are also trained scientists. It was decided at the onset that contributors' names would not be given

I can reveal that "Slippage" is by Andy Brown. I'd like to read more poetry by the writer of "Bamboo" and especially "Two temperatures for snow". I wasn't so keen on "The Bee Charmer", "Sigma", "Colour Theory", or most of the repetition poems.

There are 32 pages of poetry, so officially it's a pamphlet I suppose. Apparently they're poems by scientists rather than poems about science. The themes are rather narrow - ice/water or animals/plants feature heavily. There's also a sacrifice of narrative in favour of repetition. "Redwings and Magnetism" is in couplets, the first line of each couplet repeating the line 3 before (though the last and pre-penultimate lines should be swapped if the pattern's to be regularised). "A Conception" and "St Lucy's Day" repeat many phrases to less effect.

Maths/science is sometimes a source of analogy -

  • The way trees come out of their changing room in April/ like green fighters, like players for a new season (p.14)
  • two lines thrown to an infinite point/ converge, finally, with what could be love (p.28)

Other reviews

  • Jane Routh (Stride) (My expectations are that I’m going to find something quite distinctive in this collection - new insights, new ideas, new language, a different way of apprehending the world. And I don’t find them.)
  • Anne Stevenson (Critical Survey)

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