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, 23 March 2016

"In the Ninth House" by Louise C Callaghan (Salmon poetry, 2010)

Lots about birds and taking stock - old age and memories of childhood - and many small poems. I can see something in each of them, enough for me to think I've not missed too much, but not enough to satisfy me. There are 2 poems where 12 lines are spread across 3 pages, an indication of how thinly the material's sometimes spread. The first 3 (of 8) lines of "Waiting for frogs to hop" are "Raindrops sparkle/ where the light/ catches them". I don't understand how "where the light" deserves a line all to itself. "Jubilee" has "From mid-night to one,/ at the kitchen window// I watch six frogs/ on the apron// of the garden lawn. They're oblivious to// props of wrought iron/ furniture: a table// and two chairs,/ my garden seat". That's 5 stanzas already; half a page. The 3rd stanza in particular lacks cohesion. I think the passage would be improved by the removal of all the line-breaks.

I liked "The Heron", which is compact, and "Homeguard Earlies" which begins by describing the harvesting of potatoes, ending with "And I tell myself - it's alright,/ alright in a body no longer young".

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