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.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

"Hannah, are you listening?" by Hamish Whyte (HappenStance, 2013)

In the first poem, "First and last swan", the persona begins by saying "First swan I remember/ was a match", then sees a lone (suspected widowed) swan. Ducks and a heron try to befriend it. It ends "Is it not a swan's job/ just to be, to be there,/ light against the dark?", returning to the Swan=match idea, and deterring anthropomorphic interpretations - the swan's as likely to be a poem.

"Scaffold" is an interesting companion piece to "Taking down the scaffolding" by Jean Sprackland (from "Sleeping Keys", 2013)

Two stuntmen on a forty-foot tower
... They know the risks, how much they can subtract/ without collapse
... What love you need/ to dismantle the structure you're standing on!
Any scaffold's a dangerous/ construction.
... so practised they hook/ us like circus performers
... They've reached that pinnacle/ of art, making the difficult look/ easy-peasy

"49 Northumberland Street" is all plot for me - "I pass it every day ... I'm sure I once heard bagpipes playing/ but it may have been a trick of the fog ... I dream about it all the time ... I know if I want to live/ I must keep my bowler hat on/ and knock at the door of 49 Northumberland Street/ with my umbrella". Here, and in general, there are too many line-breaks, and maybe too many words.

Other reviews

  • Angelina Ayers (Antiphon) ("In the title poem, I can hear the words being spoken, but again, why so much exposition")
  • Matthew Stewart ("Syntactic simplicity is just as capable of ambition and is even more dangerous as its opposite number ... Hamish Whyte dares to walk simplicity's tightrope in this pamphlet")
  • Rishi Dastidar (Sabotage review)

No comments:

Post a Comment