People are reading our poetry… Two more great reviews, this time in The High Window.
“Penumbra is replete with … vivid, sometimes startling imagery, unexpected linguistic shifts and carefully patterned verbal dynamics…”
Talking about ‘Aeroplane trails at dusk’, Tom Phillips says, ‘This, then, is one tiny example of how Behrens successfully engages in ‘making strange’ the apparently ordinary and in opening up ways to explore the emotional hinterlands – or indeed penumbras – surrounding often minutely observed details.’
And a less effusive but very interesting review of Precarious Lives by James Roderick Burns which makes me want to read Jean’s poems again, more carefully.
“Watkins is an effortless poet of nature, and the intimate, surprising details of the natural world suffuse every comer of the book, so the theme is fitting as well as urgent. ‘Wasps’ – ‘ton-up boys’ with ‘ hostile hum’ – demonstrate in sharp, plangent and witty ways the tragedy of our impact on the world. The poem meanders in a carefully-drunken concrete pattern around the page, as if to demonstrate the insects’ disorientation. ”
But then, he says: ‘This tendency to move away from supple, intricate verse into something more didactic seems to occur most often when the poet has a ‘big message’ to convey.’
Really? I do like a big message. I must read those poems again…
D A Prince gets to the heart of Kate Behrens’ Penumbra in his review in the recently published edition of South, 60.
In this, her third collection from Two Rivers
Press, Behrens concentrates on ‘…
the dead’s/ irreconcilable parts’ in poems
pervaded by grief and loss. This focus
shapes not only the content of the poems
but also the forms and syntax;
single-word sentences demonstrate the
sensation of thin-skinned vulnerability
and the brittle nature of pain. Her lines
are taut, tightly-held and sometimes
cryptic, as personal poems can be. There
are fragments of dreams and broken
scraps of memory, representations of
how the mind attempts to reconstruct the
past and the dead.
Behrens’ poems give us one way
to connect with an ever-shifting sense
A wonderful review of Precarious Lives by Richard Woolmer in South 60, recently published.
Here is a world seen through the magic
of a poet’s eye, full of vivid description
and leaps of imagination where the “precarious”
is never far away. She can turn
objects, places, memories, art – even a
view from the kitchen sink or a motorway
car park – into a powerful visual/verbal
She takes us to “the edge of the world”,
paints it with the colours of her imagination,
revels in its life, reminds us of its
uncertainty. She could build bridges out
We’ve just spotted a thoughtful review of ‘On Magnetism‘ by Steven Matthews, in the latest edition of the Stand magazine.
‘The grammatically compact phrases hold opposites together so that the force of art facilitates the contraries in perspective.’ ‘…imagination attracts memory so that the two provide a space for longevity and reflection.’ —Lucy Cheseldine
Sue will be reading from ‘Chosen Hill’ at The Pitshanger Bookshop, in Ealing on Thursday, 10th October. 6.30pm for 7pm
Leigh’s poems are brief, and employ minimal punctuation; the questions they consider, on the other hand, are expansive. Many of them read as meditations on how to exist in the world, and how we might accept the chance happenings of life. – Suzannah Evans, in the TLS
‘Masterly control’ – Jennifer Edgecombe, in PN Review