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Showing posts from August, 2021

Review - "Peripheral Visions" by Moyra Tourlamain

Steve Spence “Peripheral Visions” by Moyra Tourlamain, pub. Oystercatcher, 32pp I know little about Moyra Tourlamaine bar the brief information at the end of this chapbook. She has a Phd in Poetry from the University of Kent, is a translator of Paul Celan and has a particular interest in the poetry of W.S. Graham. The title is intriguing, suggesting something glimpsed, outside of the ‘main event’ and perhaps slight out of focus, penumbral. There is certainly a reflection on memory and brain function (Occipital Outcome) on alternatives to mainstream culture (Bugarach) and on film, as in ‘Reel’ though there may also be a hint towards musical form in the latter. What I most liked about these poems on an initial reading where I was blown away by the integration of sound and content, (or the relation between the two), was the wordplay and the manner in which an apparently easy-going conversational style could embrace serious thought, disjunction and be very pleasurable to engage with. On

Ralph Hawkins - Six Poems

Ralph Hawkins more data please is this the way to go more data needed a heteronym, a reason truth be known, sooth! Finn  and his crew on a mineral hunt in Greenland a leafy plot of privileged rime, rind peeled off eglantine, sweet briar hips syrupy palm oil, a greasy spot on the sleeve the hiss and wag of telling heads a body of land with its outposts, shale and slate and the bark of a dog, ruins under the effluent his pockets revealed 1  broken dreams                            scattered in pieces 2  a broken heart                                    scattered in pieces 3  a cook, a thief and his mother (full of ontological insecurity)(ants, bitumen and fast fashion)      stunt men and women played by an egg and a chicken or a chicken  and an egg a suggestion of liquid paraffin where the land was once water, ocelot and ounce  peeling an apple to its fundamental essence (cor blimey!) both spring blossom and autumn fruit a woodpecker in the woods my mind in a mess  and the dry cleaner re

Paul Sutton - Poem

Paul Sutton Canine Losers How their dogs bark at night sometimes on dark estates  other times running by rails far into empty lands where dreams wait like friends who died before you saw  them growing leaving just  lost fractions from old lives shared in new towns vast  boulevards open to those blue autumn schooldays  where the year falls the late sun fools  us things last.  Copyright  ©  Paul Sutton, 2021

Charlie Baylis - Two Poems from "Santa Lucia"

Charlie Baylis Two poems from "Santa Lucia" private beach the beauty of the city when the sun is rising. the botanist collecting peas. classic god shaped wholes envelop us. you. a small private beach with white sands. yew tree. unicorns graze. youths. hitting blue with a hammer. what’s wrong? everything i do is dumb. a ballerina pirouetting with a rhino. nothing left of my leather toes. summer burns. getaway while you can. public beach the beauty of the city when the sun is setting the scientist in pea greens. classic god  shaped holes envelop us. you. a small public beach of see-through scenes yew tree. ewes grazing. vous. fucking the white sky with a hammer. what’s wrong? what you do is dumb. a ballerina pirouetting with a rhino.  nothing left of my blue suede shoes. summer hums. getaway while you can. Copyright   © Charlie Baylis, 2021

Review - “Santa Lucia” by Charlie Baylis

Alan Baker “Santa Lucia” by Charlie Baylis, pub. Invisible Hand Press. 26pp. Sometimes these poems seem to be parody of surrealist writing and Ashbery-esque poetry. Take the poem which opens with the following lines:           the moon is the brightest pearl           in the night sky plucked for lovers the moon as a pearl and a sky plucked for lovers sound like either cliche or a joke. But the poem continues to pile up metaphors which become increasingly strange, till we get:               the curls of your blonde hair               the corpse of Charles Baudeliare              with the glowing eyes of Greta Garbo              the hydrogen bomb catches us unaware By now the metaphors are so extravagant that they have taken on a life of their own; the poet has allowed the language to take over and the opening lines are seen as a parodic starting-point leading to interesting places in the domain of words. The collection is divided into 'day' and 'night', although the dif

Review - "Peasant Tower" by Tim Allen

Steve Spence “Peasant Tower” by Tim Allen, pub. Disengagement Books, 50pp. £8.50 "Peasant Tower" is the new collection from Tim Allen, written in couplets, six to a page with the exception of the final page which has five. There may or may not be a link to Raymond Queneau’s " Exercises in Style" , as referenced in the brief end notes but there is certainly a hinting towards a series of parallel narratives via repeated imagery and ‘themes.’ The back cover blurb which extracts from the text name-checks Marx and Freud and there’s a ‘quotation’ from Andre Breton which made me smile – ‘ My friends and I enjoyed Peasant Tower very much and so did my enemies.’   The thing I most enjoy about Tim Allen’s poetry – in abundance here – is the unexpectedness of the images and the condensed nature of the lines which force you to look at things anew. It’s the kind of book that you might want to take to the proverbial desert island because you’d never get bored. So many of these li

Review - "Mollusc" by Mark Totterdell

Steve Spence “Mollusc” by Mark Totterdell, pub. The High Window, 116pp. £10.00 Mark Totterdell’s third collection continues his exploration of the natural world and our place in it with a substantial tome split into four sections, namely Insects; Birds; This and Molluscs. His poetry combines an interest in language in terms of etymology, sound, visualisation and taxonomy with a probing intelligence which often comes at things from an unexpected angle. He has a strong grasp of form and there is great variety in this book which combined with a playful element and a philosophical outlook makes it a great read. These are not ‘difficult poems’ but they provoke thought and hopefully also stretch your imagination and incidentally increase your vocabulary.        In ‘Geotrupes’ (Dung Beetle) we get the following:             It comes in at an angle, then it hits           but doesn’t stop; asteroid striking planet,           slow bullet through flesh. It plunges its dark self           deeper