Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

Run by HappenStance Press

The Quilted Multiverse, Jill MunroThe title shows diamond-shaped squares on what might be a quilt, with a ringed planet in the centre of each square, as well as a few other heavenly bodies, one of which seems to be an angel. The title is large, white and lower case in the top third. The author's name very small and white towards the bottom.
Fair Acre Press, 2016  £4.99

Stitching a collection

The poem from which this pamphlet takes its title—‘The Quilted Multiverse of Gardens’—offers the image of a ‘patchwork quilt / of urban Edens’: backgardens spotted from a train carriage. This poem ends memorably with its ‘floral-aproned grandma’ bouncing on ‘a huge brilliant blue trampoline’. The ‘quilt’ leading up to that has been stitched from various urban textures: among others, creosote, barbed wire, laurel bush, red stock bricks, a ‘holey tennis net’.

The facing poem is shaped on the page like ‘The Red Scarf’ of its title:

my scarf
bright green
yours was red
I did as
You said
every year
I did as
You said

I’m intrigued by those capital ‘Y’s —maybe, among other things, they depict the red scarf looped ‘onto this branch’?

‘Hooked’ begins

It’s not a crook I use
to hook the perfect man

It seems to me it could almost serve as an outline for this poetic process:

… choices
to be made in the witchery
of turning a single, thin
spun yarn to whatever
purpose I may choose:
squared shawl for a granny
soft cover for a baby
beanie for a boy-next-door…

The colourful collection wends its way through various scenarios, characters and fabrics. ‘We’re pinnied’ at the start of ‘The Mix’, served by a ‘green-striped girl’ in ‘Checkout’, watch as ‘Rose Grows Old’, reaching for ‘a tarnished hipflask’ from an ‘inner pocket in her wool’.

Alice trips through Wonderland in ‘Girl in a Bright Blue Dress’, and ‘croquets her footsteps’. And movingly a lost sister is recalled, in ‘Linda’s Bedroom’: her floor ‘strewn with Simplicity patterns // for minis and hot-pants; velvet, crimping shears, / hooks & eyes.’

It seems striking, then, that the whole patchwork should end as it does—without a single stitch—in ‘Down Hill Road’. Here, having shed her winter coats, ‘Eileen’ wheels ‘her plaid shopping trolley / chilled, stark naked, down Hill Road.’

Charlotte Gann