The Quilted Multiverse, Jill Munro
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:
yours was red
I did as
I did as
I’m intrigued by those capital ‘Y’s —maybe, among other things, they depict the red scarf looped ‘onto this branch’?
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:
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.’