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
Here’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking review of Kate Behrens’s ‘Penumbra‘ from Michael Begnal, recently published in ‘Empty Mirror‘
“Penumbra” is one of those words that I always think I know the meaning of, but then I realize I need to look it up again to make sure. … There is no poem called “Penumbra” in this, Kate Behrens’s third collection, but the word works well as an all-inclusive title, for Behrens writes about the shadowy and the marginal, and the way that death or deaths bring previously indefinite feelings into stark, vivid relief.
100 words for 100 years
Hampshire Libraries ran a competition looking for poems, letters or short stories of exactly 100 words in length. It was won by Gill Learner, with ‘Time Out’:
No-one knows which hospital, but family history had it on the Isle of Wight. A shaded-glass back door, rotting wooden steps, five of them, all nip-waisted crispness. One’s my aunt, Adelaide Marie, always known as ‘Bob’. Scarcely seventeen, inside the starched half-halo of her cap, she grins.
Home and beloved piano left behind in Chandler’s Ford, she joined the VADs. Ever the tomboy, she must have struggled to keep that floor-length apron clean, those stiff cuffs white. I imagine her singing softly as she scrubbed bedpans in the sluice, mopped between beds, smiled comfort. But she never spoke of it.
Poetry books from Gill Learner include The Agister’s Experiment and Chill Factor.