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Showing posts from May, 2022

Poem - Tim Youngs

Tim Youngs First Laugh          for Cliff Yates I recommend to her Cliff’s  Another Last Word . I can see why  you find it funny, she says.

Review - "The Rise of... Aaron Kent

Alan Baker "The Rise of Aaron Kent" by Aaron Kent, pub. Broken Sleep Books 43pp. Although it deals with the writer's traumatic personal experience, the long poem in this book is a skilfully-wrought poetic artifact, which it needs to be to do justice the experience it describes. Apart from a short poem which acts as an epilogue, the work is a single long text, laid out as double-spaced prose. It is a direct address to the reader and is straight-talking from the first sentence: I don't write letters any more but I used to In the months following the sexual assault i had written or rewritten at least fifty letters which i would pretend to send to men i thought were least likely to understand There is an interesting use of tenses here. The perfect tense of "i had written" sets that action (almost imperceptibly) in a completed past, implying right from the outset, that the speaker is now in a new phase. Similarly, the conditional "i would pretend" has a

Review - "The Last Days of Petrol" by Bridget Khursheed

Martin Stannard "The Last Days of Petrol" by  Bridget Khursheed, Shearsman, 78pp, £10.95   “My interest is in ecopoetry . . .” says the author on the back cover. Among other things, Ms. Khursheed cleans canals (“I am down here cleaning out the leaves….” ) and writes poems. A jury will decide which of those activities is the more laudable. And ecopoetry as a thing sounds very 21 st -century, don’t you think? (Discuss) As with many other collections of poetry that announce themselves as having some kind of theme the stall is set out on the first page and, in this instance, in the first line of the first poem: “How did we get here?”, and it’s no surprise that in many of the poems the natural world is in an uneasy relationship with the ‘unnatural’ world of people. Plus, we are definitely doomed:           the tide is coming in and will           wash up the beach, next the cottage           . . . . . the tourists, the viaduct           where our car is parked, eat up our very

Review - "A Country Without Names" by Martin Anderson

Steve Spence “A Country Without Names” by Martin Anderson, pub Shearsman Books. 116 pages   £10.95 Martin Anderson’s latest collection leaves a bittersweet taste, dealing as it does with the beauty of the natural world alongside a path of destruction and violence, mainly caused by humankind. It’s an eloquent testament to the failings of capitalism and human greed and the combination of a near- documentary style at times with that of lyric cadence is almost too much to take. This, from the frontispiece, for example: ‘ A strange soundscape of menacing bombers and incessant nightingales / singing … in the midst of human destruction and violence’ (David Rothenberg, Why Birds Sing ). Like Kelvin Corcoran Anderson crosses historical and geographical boundaries, suggesting that things went wrong from early on though clearly post-industrial-revolution matters have moved on apace. I’m reminded of a quote from Andrew Duncan here, and I’ll have to paraphrase as I can’t locate the source, whe

Simon Collings - Prose Poem

Simon Collings La Contessa In the middle of the path stood a strange animal like a cross between a warthog and a large lizard. Its dark leathery skin was covered with large red spots. It regarded Gabriel, in his purple suede suit, with a ferocious gaze, displaying two rows of pointy teeth. ‘Must be a new addition to aunt’s collection of exotic beasts,’ he thought. The Contessa had written the day before, asking him to call as she wished for his advice ‘on certain philosophical matters.’ It was her habit to consult Gabriel, who lectured on the history of thought at the local university, on a regular basis. While Gabriel was wondering what to do, the Contessa appeared from behind a clump of banana trees. She was wearing an elaborate cape embroidered with geometric designs and finished by a collar of squirrel fur. Her hair had the same crimson hue as the animal’s spots. ‘Bruno!’ she said sharply. The animal turned submissively towards her, its slender reptilian tail held proudly erect