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Showing posts from March, 2021

Review - "Silo" by Andrew Taylor

Alan Baker "Silo" by Andrew Taylor, pub Red Ceilings, 43pp. In 2018 Red Ceilings published Andrew Taylor's sequence "Aire", a series of haiku-inspired pieces centred around his house in rural France; moments of stillness and observation captured in spare language that also included the numerical Pantone colour codes to describe objects, thus foregrounding the textual and linguistic nature of the observations. "Silo" builds on the work in "Aire" but is quite different; the pieces are denser and the tone more intense. But there is still a meditative atmosphere. Here's an example:      The sheep are up clear ivy reveal      the render it's still hat wearing      weather the slope intact gathered      piles of fallen branches like markers      in low cloud olive in colour aside      from very pale blue 538 CP lighting      and angles deceive orange of tile a      firm breaker a small shelter. A single sentence, no punctuation, descripti

Review - “Cut Flowers” by Harriet Tarlo

Ian Brinton “Cut Flowers” by Harriet Tarlo, illustrated by Chloe Bonfield. Guillemot Press, 2021 A poet’s use of the caesura is closely bound to the act of breathing and the division within a metrical line permits a reader to pause and reflect upon the way each word lays down a foundation stone upon which the next word may be erected. A caesura compels a reader to become an observer of relationships and in terms of Harriet Tarlo’s new collection of poems it is worth recalling what the integrated Yijing might be in the reading of a classical Chinese poem, the overall effect of a poem that was referred to by Li Zhimin in his essay ‘Four Different Ways of looking at J.H. Prynne’s Chinese Poem’, published in the poetics and critical theory journal QUID . Li Zhimin wrote about how a good classical Chinese poem ‘often runs beyond explanation’ and suggested that the more one explains, the more a poem’s beauty ‘will be blurred for readers’ who may be deprived of the opportunity to exercis

Review - “Shadow of the Owl” by Matthew Sweeney

Steve Spence “Shadow of the Owl” by Matthew Sweeney, pub. Bloodaxe. 103 pages    2020    £10.99 I’d not read a lot of Matthew Sweeney’s poetry prior to engaging with Shadow of the Owl , his final book, which deals with the last year of his life during which he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. The image of the owl becomes a dark persona, an uninvited guest who appears and disappears, fuelling an inner dialogue where the poet reflects upon his worsening situation in a state of near paranoia which dominates the entire collection. There is plenty of energy in this writing though and I shall certainly be looking at Sweeney’s earlier work after having encountered this rather sad tome, which nevertheless is filled with an irrepressible resistance to the inevitable. If there is a prevailing influence it’s that of Kafka, a writer who Sweeney had much time for and whose presence here is undeniable.   Let’s take a poem from the opening sequence of twelve twenty liners entitle