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Showing posts from June, 2020

Review - "Field" by Harriet Tarlo

Aled Ganobcsik-Williams "Field" by  Harriet Tarlo,   pub. Shearsman Books   (72 pages) Harriet Tarlo’s Field is a collection of 54 brief, or very brief poems on a single field near Penistone, as viewed by a commuter from the window of a train as the train travels along the 29 arch viaduct that crosses the river Don in the direction of Huddersfield. The genre is that of a ‘diary’: each poem occupies a separate page and is dated by way of a ‘title’ in slightly larger, bold typeface. Interspersed among, but distinguished from the poems in not being dated, are six pages that contain brief prose pieces, most but not all of which are the words of the farmer/field owner (identified as AH) interviewed by Tarlo, though there are also a couple of brief extracts from local histories of the area as well as unattributed pieces that might justly be considered ‘poetic’ compositions. It may be pedantic to insist on the distinction between the ‘poems’ and the ‘prose’—though the emphatic use

Osip Mandelstam - Stanzas

Osip Mandelstam Stanzas 1 No, I don't want small change for my soul's last kopeck from any of these pruned youths. A recalcitrant peasant at state farm gates, I join this village where people look great. Red Army coats that drop to the heels – I love their pleats, their sleeves are smooth, kin to the cut of the Volga's rainclouds, wasting no hems, that they still fit when breast and back threaten to split, be bundled up when summer comes round. 2 Some blasted stitch and my daft intent have pulled us apart. Let this though be said: I have to breathe now, to thrive and bolshevize, improve my looks in time for my death, and live some more in some human lives. 3 Recall that day I tore round Cherdyn, which reeks of the Ob, where out of the drains the Tobol appears. In that ten-inch bustle, denunciatory goats got on with their scuffles. In that pigeon city, I stared like a cockerel at victuals, at spittle, at something agleam, right through that summer's translucent fog. Wh

Review - "(the book of gathering)" by Mark Russell

Simon Collings Mark Russell, ᚮ (the book of gatherings), Red Ceilings Press, 24pp, £6.00. Mark Russell’s latest pamphlet, ᚮ (the book of gatherings), is a book of ‘wisdom’, though the comfort it offers is circumspect, humorous, enigmatic. It is ‘sage’ advice, as the opening poem explains: There is a herb made of words     it smells of sage     slips its seasons     removes our virtue The author steers us away from worldly aspirations, false pride, regrets. The sixth poem opens: ‘doubt nothing but learning/avoid too many ambitions’ and ends ‘see off retrospection/kick it to the wild pasture/drink it within an inch of its life’. But how much of this spiritual guidance are we meant to take seriously? Russell undermines our confidence as readers through subtle shifts of tone. Poem twenty suggests that the wise favour doing over speaking: ‘words are second to actions’. And in what reads like a parody of a Zen master, poem fifteen advises: If you can carry a sin