Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

Run by HappenStance Press

gorged on light, p.a. morbidBright blue cover with title of book and author in lower case in white font. Both are contained inside a huge capital G. The word 'gorged' is in yellow. Engorged by the G, in fact. Bottom right of the cover, small caps, is RED SQUIRREL PRESS
Red Squirrel Press, 2015   £6.00

The oddness of precision

Sometimes poets date poems precisely. It happens here at the foot of the first, lovely, untitled fragment: Monday 23rd of July 2012.

There is an attraction to this. Something to do with the fragility of a single, real moment. The next two poems are dated in 2011. But then, oddly, it’s right back to Friday 16th of May 2008.

The following poem has a title (‘Emptiness’) and not only a date but a precise time of day. 18:46 Monday 11th of September 2008. The next is Tuesday, 19:16. 2007.

The times are jumping backwards and forwards in years. I realise I was expecting (but not getting – why should I?) chronological order.

Some of the poems are melancholy, but in the middle of the pamphlet, right-hand side of the centre-fold, there is ‘Wedding Poem’, where the poet seems to be on a high. Friday 1st of November 2013 represents ‘a small victory / no one can ever take away from us’. I’m relieved he’s in love and it seems to be working.

But next ‘The Cold Outer Edge of the Day’, a sequence, and some painful events are afoot: love and closeness hoped for but denied. The poet says (in ‘scratching the itch’) ‘Why do I keep on torturing myself?’ The reader (me) thinks, oh dear goodness, has the wedding come to nothing? We hope for happiness. We really do. The sequence spans six pages. At the end there are dates: years but not days: 2006/7. Thank goodness. This was before the wedding.

The last few poems follow the original dating system: days and dates in 2010, 2011, 2007 and 2010. I’m finding the precision very odd. Something in my head is trying to move with the years and not knowing how. The final poem, the title poem, has no date of any kind. Fascinating poem, one of his best. Is it timeless? Is this a moment right out of time?

Where the morning was all symmetry and glowing shapes
the evening holds only jagged angles that weigh upon the senses

Helena Nelson