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, 11 July 2018

"Joy" by Sasha Dugdale (Carcanet, 2017)

Poems from PN Review, Rialto, etc. The title piece is a sprawling monologue with stage directions. Blake's wife, waiting to die - "All of them righter than the rightest calculation/ And truer than any compass/ Yet where they were right and true none could say/ And how they were right and true none could guess" (p.17), etc.

There are ballads, villanelles, loose terza rima -

Nothing will ever die
That lives - though all its form be changed
So there we stopped a bit and lay

And now the hours and days are rearranged
The bodies lying there are beyond strange
Like angels glaring through one peacock eye

I like the storyline of "How my friend went to look for her roots" though the piece is worsened by pretending to be poetry. My favourite is "Canoe" though it could be slimmed down. People cheer off a canoe that leaves at 2 o'clock - "Sixty small flashes every minute, sixty times an hour/ Their will kept time, and if they did not conquer time/ Then they moved at its pace, they were time's ghosts". They never return. Their houses are raided for souvenirs, then ransacked, vandalised and burnt.

She's another poet who hits my blindspot. Some poems (e.g. "Villanelle" or the ballads) seem rather trite (no doubt I've misunderstood them). Others (e.g "Mappa Mundi") I don't understand or seem far too long.

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