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, 21 June 2017

"Reservoir voices" by Brendan Kennelly (Bloodaxe, 2009)

85 pages of poetry, sometimes with more than one poem a page. Nearly every piece (an exception is "Out", which begins "I'm out" but is in the voice of a released prisoner) is from the first-person point of view of an object or abstract noun mentioned in the title - e.g.

  • "Shadow" - "Anyone may see me,/ nobody can touch me./ When the branch dances, so do I ..."
  • "System" - "Some guys know how to use me ..."
  • "Paper" - "I was a forest once ..."
  • "Daring" - "It seems I go where I should not go ..."

Workshoppy? It's certainly a risk, and the starts of the poems aren't their best parts. At least there's a variety of form if not voice. There are some 4-liners and some that are longer than a page. Sometimes there's regular end-rhyme. The default is to use triplets (sometimes terza rima).

Some pieces (even longer ones like "Prayer" and "Hug") are light, with sections like this -

listening is an art
some folk close their eyes
opening up their hearts
to separate truth from lies

Others are prosy musings. Here and there are interesting sections.

Other reviews

  • Patricia McCarthy (A unique facility Kennelly has always had is to create poems which are accessible to uneducated, non-literary readers, yet which also speak to those well-versed in poetry at the deepest metaphorical levels. ... Along with Rilke, another forefather of the poet is Samuel Beckett)

No comments:

Post a Comment