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, 13 September 2017

"The purpose of your visit" by River Wolton (Smith/Doorstop, 2008)

The first poem, "Thrill" is classic "anecdote becomes metaphor". Canoeing together amongst alligators, there's "the thrill: of comradeship, or proving all the voices wrong, and ridges of relentless hidden teeth". The second poem, "Reconciliation", mentions a crow bashing against a window, then says that the narrator no longer cares about the possessions that characterise her, because when there's a reconciliation - "All I know is that they fell away like ballast on a balloon flight, like the first step weightless and exultant into air". In "Gold", the persona seems to be floundering around, looking for something - anything - to believe in after a relationship's over, finishing with "You think of taking up smoking again but even that old god is good and dead".

Some later poems are more oblique - initially at least. Often a memory is described, then the persona's current surroundings are revealed (a train station, for example) then a connection is made between the two, or, more rarely, the juxtaposed descriptions are left to speak for themselves. There's a "scattering ashes" poem. I like "Sheffield - St Pancras".

Towards the end, the topics of immigration and Israel take over. The style becomes close to reportage - poems (poems?) like "Departures 4.30 A.M." don't do much for me.

Other reviews

  • Rob A. Mackenzie (She employs plain vocabulary, free verse, and a fairly regular stanza and line length within each poem. There’s little new ground being broken, but the poems generally succeed in achieving their intended effect, which is rarely disguised.)


  1. Dear Tim

    Greetings from Provence! Isn't it 'Smith/Doorstop'? Alligators immediately remind me of Florida where since the flooding, apparently, our emerald friends have become more widespread than ever!

    Best wishes from Simon R Gladdish

    1. And I'm just back from 2 weeks around Morocco, More later.