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DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: In the Lateness of the World

Thursday 25 February 2021, 12:01

In The Lateness of the World is the fourth collection from Carolyn Forché, coiner of the phrase ‘poetry of witness’. Seventeen years on from her last collection, Blue Hour, Forché continues to bear witness with her poems, which here serve as war correspondence, warnings and eulogies, to both individuals and the world around us.

Intertextuality and a search for connection with other poets is a key theme of the collection. The title is a line from American poet Robert Duncan’s ‘Poetry, a Natural Thing’Like Duncan, Forché laces her poetry with rich imagery of the natural world, for example in ‘Travel Papers’:

Mountains before and behind,
heather and lichen, yarrow, gorse,
then a sea village of chartreuse fronds.

However, this is a natural world that is disappearing:

Through disappearing
villages, past horses grazing vanished fields.

Duncan asserts that: ‘Neither our vices nor our virtues/further the poem’, and that poetry is not a conscious endeavour, but rather ‘The poem/feeds upon thought, feeling, impulse’ in order to ‘breed itself’.  Forché’s poetry, meanwhile, seems inspired by a desire to document the truth, and call the reader to action...


This is an excerpt of a review by Kai Durkin of Carolyn Forché's In the Lateness of the World. For more information on Forché at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

Categories: News

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: Zoospeak

Thursday 25 February 2021, 11:49

Gordon Meade releases his tenth collection of poetry with an approach towards awareness. He forms lines to accompany the stills taken by Canadian photographer Jo-Anne McArthur. The photos are a peek into another point of view, and Meade puts a face—and a name—to the images, breathing life into a moment captured in time.

The titling in this collection is not done blithely. Zoospeak is a conversation about the language of the zoo, an intermission to stop and ponder the reality of the controversies surrounding these menageries. The collection of poetry speaks volumes for those who are willing to look beneath the surface as the author titles each poem in the same manner that a zoo labels each inhabitant: species, location, and date.

As I read the four sections in Zoospeak, I found myself examining each line, each complementing photograph in detail. Clever in the way he unfolds his poems, Meade manages to use repetition in ways that avoid becoming tedious. I found the echoing lines created a haunting cadence as each stanza expands, filling in a new link towards a deeper truth—the animal’s truth...

 

This is an excerpt of a review by Sienna Miller of Gordon Meade's Zoospeak. For more information on Meade at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

Categories: News

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 381

Wednesday 24 February 2021, 17:56

Pictland

we love the land you walked
where you all talked around
and stalked the bear and deer
and feel in you fear coming
no seer spies thousands of years

and beyond of days unknown
days that now have little words

giving nothing to the eye
that cannot see our thought
or why it brings us back

Lindsay Craik

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 380

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 12:46

On To America (a moment in the sea)

The grey flat of the bottomless sea in
to which the boy in yellow longs steps gin
gerly. Stretching out into grey sullen
? of possibilities. He is
only 9 years old, possible futures lie
Before him on the sullen grey and
on to America should he decide.
Are you going to swim, or not? She calls
Look! The dog is swimming. Look!
      He is on-
ly 9 years old. He is in the sea, in his
yellow Longs; alone; and she is filming. 

William Cowan

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: Moving House

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 11:05

Theophilus Kwek is a prolific writer with five collections to his credit. His latest, Moving House, articulates a preoccupation with the themes of migration, belonging, colonial history, and the turbulent politics of the present.

Kwek is uniquely qualified to tackle these themes. He grew up in Singapore, graduated with a degree in history and politics, and has been involved with the plight of refugees, co-editing Flight, an anthology of poetry in response to the European refugee crisis.  As a migrant student in the UK, Kwek suffered the consequences of xenophobia by way of a racist attack, which he touches upon in the poem ‘Occurrence’:

Nothing much then, now nearly unseen –
a cut beneath the eye. A bruise, fading
to skin, frown and furrow, fine print […]

These lines exemplify how expertly a poem can marry form with meaning. The line endings trace the journey from a physical experience to a written one – ‘unseen’, ‘fading’ to ‘fine print’. This movement is felt in other poems as well. ‘Witness’, the opening poem details an accident that happens in the rush of everyday life:

She was already gone. And so were we,
drawn on by the bus’ trajectory […]

 

This is an excerpt of a review by Skendha Singh of Theophilus Kwek's Moving House'sFor more information on Kwek at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

Categories: News

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: Lamping for Pickled Fish

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 10:58

If there could ever be the right – the only – title for this poetry collection, then Lamping for Pickled Fish might be it, setting the reader up as it so neatly does for the illicit, for the hidden and obscure and for journeys into unexpected spaces.

This is Beth McDonough’s first solo pamphlet and it contains 29 poems, a few of which have been published elsewhere. In subject matter they divide roughly into three areas – the natural world, her travels in the Canary and Balearic Islands and family. Most of them are short, only a handful extending to a second page.

McDonough is a forager, avid in pursuit of the wild jewels of shoreline and hedgerow in her native north-east Scotland and a maker. A maker of jam, from Ronnie’s stolen rhubarb; of soused herring in the title poem; of a young adult from a toddler; and, effortlessly, of words from other words.

She works her language hard, pressing nouns and adjectives into service as verbs. In ‘Marmalade,’ where ‘fluff thickened pith’ places the poem firmly in the reader’s mouth, ‘juices loch onto boards,’ enabling an agile leap from the bitter zest of those Seville oranges, to sunshine in a Scottish winter....


This is an excerpt of a review by Alison Bell of Beth Mcdonough's Lamping for Pickled Fish. For more information on Mcdonough at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage

Categories: News
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