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, 2 December 2017

"Dragon Talk" by Fleur Adcock (Bloodaxe, 2010)

Poems from Agenda, Ambit, PN Review, Poetry Review, The Rialto, TLS, etc.

The title poem is 4 pages of misunderstandings that voice recognition can make, the name of the software being exploited.

I can't blame you for homonyms,
but surely after a decade
you could manage the last word
of Cherry Tree 'Would'?
You're hopeless at birds:
can't get wren into your head -
too tiny, you try to tell me:
it comes out as rain or ring.
What am I thinking of,
dragon bird?
How could I forget
that you too have wings?

It was a Guardian poem of the week. Wow.

She knows how to add just enough to a text so that the piece isn't a complete waste, though texts like "Lollies", "3 September 1939", "Just in case", etc, fail even that minimal requirement. The best lines are usually at the end - "I'm drawing a face. Inside my head I can see it clearly, but my fingers won't do what I tell them. It turns out to be a round patch of scribble. It looks more like the world" (p.14), "The milk she squeezes out of the cow turns into butter when she churns it. Life's mysterious, but I'm used to that." (p.15), "Life makes a lot more sense when you can spell" (p.16), etc. Looked upon generously, the line breaks are superfluous. Pieces like "Mr Dolman" and "Biro" are innocuous even with the line breaks removed.

Other reviews

  • Julian Stannard (These beautifully crafted poems are full of laconic punchlines)

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