One of the bad things about being a poetry reviewer for Pulsar poetry webzine is trying to find the time to read the books after a heavy day at work. One of the great things about it is that I get sent the books for free, not books I’d have chosen but new, challenging material, and I have to read it and reflect and re-read with real attention! Going to write about it so I have to give it 100%.
Nothing like it for keeping the little grey cells alive. It means having to take on board unfamiliar genres and writers who are pushing the boundaries – in all sorts of ways. One was quite extraordinarily obscure, but you have to think: should I recommend this – what will people gain if they take the time to feel and think their way into this work? Another was a sequence, rather beautiful, about a melancholy dominatrix – it did seem to be feeling its way towards suicide chic.
Some of the most original and brilliant are collections by American poets – there are vibrant scenes both in the USA and South American countries, some collections in three languages. One poet who really grabbed me is Kim Shuck, who combines threads from several worlds in her poems; she has Cherokee and Polish ancestry. I love the blunt way she puts words together, and how she uses fantasy and humour, to look deep into the realities behind everyday life.
The only thing I really don’t understand is why the whole book is in capital letters??
A BLANKET AS MAP KIM SHUCK
ART IS TERRITORIAL
THESE ASSEMBLIES OF THINGS
COLLECTED FROM MY WORLD
LIFTED FROM YOURS AND REWORKED
UNTILTHEY HAVE A PLACE IN MINE
NO LESS A STATEMENT THAN THE CAT
FACE RUBBING SCENT MARK
MIGHT FEEL GOOD
PURR MIGHT PLEASE
DON’T BE FOOLED
THIS IS ABOUT TURF
THESE BLOODY PAWPRINTS
I STITCH ACROSS OUR SHARED QUILT
What do you think? Strong, isn’t it – thought-provoking – but does it gain from the capital letters?