Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

Run by HappenStance Press

Home

Brevities, Julie JohnstoneThe jacket is a perfect square, cream in colour and printed on a textured card. The title is in sky blue right in the centre, a fairly small sans serif lower case. The author's name, also centred, is smaller and about an inch below this, in pale grey. You hardly see it.

Essence Press, 2017   £20.00

Words in their space

This is an art book and a beautiful one — elegantly pale, square format, endpapers of tracing paper, stitched with linen thread; hand-knotted. Just looking at it, holding it, makes me feel better, as though breathing pure mountain air. The world has become cleaner.

The subtitle — ‘selected texts 2005-2017’ — shows that every page is an entity, lifted out of time and placed here.

You can read each one separately, moving forward only when you feel ready to. Time is slowed down by the arrangement of essential words within white space —

pausing here to read this

reading this to pause here

This is simultaneously simplicity and a studied consideration of how words are changed by placing and their relationship to other words.

I want to turn the page but I can’t. I’m held on this page (the first page) trying to hold in balance whether I am pausing or reading and how long this moment of ‘here’ can last.

I’m also aware of how I’ve stepped outside ‘real’ time, that clatter of email, phone, radio. It’s a moment caught in its own space and with all the time in the world before anything else has to happen.

I am aware, too, of how clumsy this attempt at explanation sounds in my ears, how lumpy and cloddish my prose is. When I feel ready, I can turn over to find that there’s only one word on the next page —

here

and that is balanced by three words, at the same level, on the opposite page —

in your hands

So I spend time here, looking at these words, facing each other and bringing to mind a host of questions: about the words I write, hand-written, the time they take, their worth, the distance between those words and me, the ego of writing.

I’ve only read three pages but how long has this taken?

These texts are placed before the reader in such a way that they seems to alter time.

I know I can’t always live like this but I’m grateful they give me a retreat, a space in which to be restored.

D A Prince

Join our mailing list

This list allows subscribers to receive automatic email notifications about new OPOI reviews and poetry pamphlet news posted on Sphinxreview.co.uk. Just enter your email address below and check the small box for email notifications.

 

Please confirm that you would like to hear from HappenStance Press via:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website: https://www.sphinxreview.co.uk/index.php/privacy-policy.

We use Mailchimp as our email list platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.