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, 23 December 2017

"Trouble" by Alison Winch (The Emma Press, 2016)

Poems from Magma, Poetry Wales, etc

When a pamphlet has a 2 page intro, the intro probably matters, especially when it's by Sarah Howe. From it I learn that the poems sometimes contain contrasting viewpoints/emotions, which sounds good, but on the minus side (as far as I'm concerned; I'm not an ideal reader) there are raunchy Middle English-inflected rhythms which isn't pastiche, and some extracts from long poems.

I don't get any of the poems, so I'll supply some extracts

  • On this body is a head, I explain, and in this head is a pack of spaniels, a pack so dense they are a mind. And they fawn over men. Men made up of golden light, muddy crystals, kissing cherries (p.1)
  • He availed himself of a flagon of pear wine and enlightened me on the characteristics of men, their manners, tastes, opinions. The bell tolled noon. As he stood his pink curved heels gave him a rakish height. I leaned in to taste his painted lips, stained as they were with snuff and pear and tannin. Innocent like a nymph, he murmured, or shepherdess (p.4)
  • Dimwits!/ Eue was born of the nobliest// (Adames bon & blod)/ & in a terrestrial paradise - // see her vesselle's soule/ fooles see her soule ... (p.14)
  • This is all we have./ Our souls are not birds,// they are sluttishly coupled/ to these bodies, their chins, verucas (p.19)
  • this is morning sickness!/ Only oat cakes and ire/ to whip one through to the end of each perverted day (p.21)
  • We seek the cool of buses en route to Homerton hospital,/ the seats' pelt is lotus flowers - / I'm a secret eater, I am what I eat, I'm alone like a rhinoceros horn (p.22)
  • each time I visit/ you've enlarged your body's parameters into obesity (p.23)

Other reviews

  • Jessica Traynor (references are worn lightly, in a witty collection which approaches the title’s theme of ‘trouble’ through a distinctly feminine (and feminist) perspective.)
  • David Caddy (There is an overriding sense of female power and voice arising from various states of intimacy, and that chimes in well with other recent works by Dorothy Lehane, Sophie Mayer, and Sarah Howe. I greatly look forward to reading more of Winch’s poetry and warmly recommend this debut collection)
  • Katy Evans-Bush (Though Winch’s sense of the movement through time is refreshing, and Alisoun feels convincing, her 18th century is less than convincing, with anachronistically courtly flourishes and wrong-period dishes)

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