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Showing posts from October, 2019

Review - "Mutant Summers New Histories" by Peter Dent

Martin Stannard   "Mutant Summers New Histories", Peter Dent (Red Ceilings Press, 50pp, £6.00) In 2005 I reviewed Peter Dent’s Handmade Equations, a full-length collection from Shearsman, and I’ve just re-read that review because (a) I suspected that this time around I might end up saying the same things using different words and (b) I have been slumbering, and feeling weary of poetry that seems determined to make me work, poetry full of earnest intent but little or anything in the way of reading pleasure, and I needed some prodding to stir from the sofa. Because (a) turned out to be not far from wrong, here are a couple of chunks from that earlier review: "One certainly has to be prepared to read them [the poems] in the way the best poems demand you read them, which is not on your terms, but on theirs. And to know also that a personal, individual reaction to whatever goes off in them is perfectly fine. You may never know exactly what the poet is getting at, or unde

Review - "Micro Event Space" by Robert Sheppard

Alan Baker   “Micro Event Space” by Robert Sheppard, pub. Red Ceilings Press. 50pp The Red Ceilings format of small (A6) booklets lends itself to some types of writing and not others; in this one Robert Sheppard has given us poems perfectly adapted to the medium, appropriately titled "Micro Event Space" and starting with a sequence of "twittersonnets" in which each poem presents a small object, ranging from a Higgs Boson particle to a pygmy marmoset. But before we get to that there is an opening poem which acts like a prologue, setting out the poet's aims and techniques. In this sonnet-like poem, simply titled "Poem", we're told           Every poem is a new beginning...           trying to figure out           what it is, like an orphan or a migrant As these lines confirm, Sheppard starts with language and from there reaches out to the world, much as Burnett, in her sequence gives us language-objects which embody the river rather than describ

Cliff Yates - Four Poems

Cliff Yates Lifting Too early at the Custard Factory for the lunch and too late for breakfast, the towpath’s closed at Broad Street, the Ikon galleries are shut, and it doesn’t look good for our Digbeth jerry can hardware shop but dodge between buildings more or less opposite the bus station for the five workmen and mini digger laying paving in a dream, the foreman on his knees, smoothing sand with bare hands in front of the thirty-foot GARAGE DOORS brick wall and, half-way up, the blue sign           No lifting           over this           building the dark green canister, the red board – a composition, a film set, abstract painting. All over Brum they’re laying new paving. A Sheet of Miscellaneous Studies and back of Birmingham town hall in the Museum & Art Gallery, Leonardo’s drawings A Horse Divided by Lines A Deluge, The Bones of the Hand while in the basement, Lucy Gunning in the red dress, still climbing along her skirting, wardrobe, chest of drawers, shelving, door frame…

Review - "Rivering" by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

Alan Baker   “Rivering” by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, pub. Oystercatcher. 18pp. In one of the poems of this sequence the poet writes:      it has nothing to do          with me               this movement    this confluence of cloud                                             & skin   this looking   up though glass                         where hair opens into wings These lines give us an insight into he method used in this short sequence of poems about the River Dart: the poems are not personal reminiscences or observations ("it has nothing to do with me") and the speaker or persona is a conduit for language; the poems embody the river and give us a linguistic representation of it. These lines also use the white space on the page to provide an impression of movement and fluidity, and make subtle use of alliterative metre ("confluence of cloud”), both things which are evident in the rest of the sequence. A sequence about the River Dart inevitably brings com

Peter Larkin - Three Poems

Peter Larkin Given Trees Their Other Side of Nature, 1-3 1 Beside a tree, rest its parts against a tangle of rotation, its horizon-pedal     oblique lunge but slender launch, non-severance of a spared-across Woods keep apart other seams for briefer slivers     then to be entangled in sluggish leaf, anchored at tree-shavings                                         crossing the woods                                         in a mobile                                         storage of us                                         not fending off                                         arboreal hearsay                                         but a gentled                                         clod of leaf ` Is prescience the first to cloud over, discover opacities conjoined in leaf?      naturals feeling (not peeled by) their other grade (guide), performance in sheaf? Prayer not bridging but a thrown (penetrated) embankment, its own least-beyond from-which     whose humped bends can be

Ian Seed - Three Prose Poems

Ian Seed Inheritance A professional woman lived in the flat above mine. I was on my own, out of work, and often behind with the rent. She kept her distance. A small plant someone had given me for Christmas kept me company. One day I came into some money and was able to buy the flat. Meanwhile, the small plant had grown into a tree whose branches were pushing against the ceiling, threatening to break through into the flat of the woman, who still kept her distance. Lesson Up in the mountains, seeking the truth about some incident that had taken place there many years before, I found myself wrestling with a fifteen-year-old shepherd boy. He was getting the better of me. ‘Just think,’ I cried, ‘a fifteen-year old boy wrestling with a fifty-year old man!’ At that he relented, not having realised how old I was. It was then that I saw his mother. We hadn’t made love in ages. We would have to get to know each other all over again. I was prepared to take the initiative, but now the boy’