Hearing Eye, 2007 - £3.00
This is an assured and well-crafted collection from a poet who relies on structure, tone and slant to make her impact, rather than wordplay or imagery, which makes quotation a little difficult, unless it’s the whole poem. Her poems are never less than solidly competent, and a substantial number are excellent. And just when she’s getting bland, and you think she’s sticking in the relationships/domesticity comfort zone, she veers off into delicious weirdness, writing at a tangent that is eminently quotable, as in this from ‘Lettuce’:
You should never go to bed on cheese,
it’ll make you dream, give you nightmares.
And this is Stilton too: At the Goose Fair
the mayor is killed by a hundred pound wheel of Stilton.
Call it the Cheese Riots. And it ends in hemp.
The cheesemonger, who marked his tariff
on a blackboard and afterwards wiped his hands
down his white apron, isn’t laughing. He knows
his own weight: the rope will hold.
She also writes some of the best dialect poetry I’ve ever seen, and when she combines it with that sideways slant of hers, the result can be sublime, as in this, from ‘Shitspiders’:
An’ I’ll tell thee this for neowt – thi wa gold! Thi were like a seam
we could chip bits offa—for a wedding ring or a tooth.
But thi wa’ movin! In an’ out of t’shite we’d left months ago.
Thi wa towns down ’ere med arrta shit—streets and all sorts
that thi med thisens to live in. I thought thi’ et it, but thi din’t,
it wa’t’ eggs thi’ et. An’t flies…
Here is a poet who has found a distinctive voice, pleasingly warm, human and witty, and un-blighted by irony. I’ll be delighted when I can read a full length collection.