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The Shearsman Review — Book Reviews

Pam Brown – Home by Dark

Pam Brown owns, I think, a genre splitter. Her mode of collage is not so much disjunctive as it is like Mike Goldberg use of Sardines in Frank O’Hara’s ‘Why I am not a painter’: ‘Yes, it needed something there’.

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Date: 15 March 2014

David Lloyd – Arc and Sill

David Lloyd’s Arc & Sill gathers poems from five different books spanning the period of 1979 to 2009. …  John Wilkinson describes a ‘constellated elegance’ in Lloyd’s writing in his review of [the book]

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Date: 15 March 2014

Fred D'Aguiar – The Rose of Toulouse

Fred D’Aguiar’s journey has been one of the strangest in British West Indian poetry. His themes of conflicted identity, displacement by slavery, colonialism, outsiderdom, migration and racism seem to have been accepted by him from without, as an inherited territory from previous generations of Caribbean writers, and yet he has mostly approached them with the calm, poised implacability of a modernist-inflected mainstream English verse that seems, at first blush, to be at odds with the implied violence of the social and historical torsions of this subject-matter.

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Date: 15 March 2014

C.D. Wright – One With Others (A Little Book of Her Days)

C. D. Wright’s One With Others (A Little Book of Her Days) finds us in an American South that will be recognisable to readers of William Faulkner: the imaginary but real country of immutable identities and hierarchies, mysterious solidarities around hidden crimes, and stubborn back-looking ghosts hankering after old pains and certainties.
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Date: 15 March 2014

John Ashbery – Quick Question

Since turning 60, John Ashbery has published thirteen books of poems, three prose collections, and book-length translations of Reverdy and Rimbaud (with volumes of selected French prose and poetry translations on the way), and has twice exhibited collages at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery.

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Date: 15 March 2014

Amy Cutler – Nostalgia Forest

A past meaning of the word ‘nostalgia’ describes a severe homesickness, a medical condition brought on by an acute longing for home. In Nostalgia Forest Amy Cutler brings the body back into the condition of nostalgia, connecting physical affliction and remembrance.

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Date: 15 March 2014

Daniel Tiffany – Brick Radio

What happens to the ‘shifters’ ‘I’ and ‘you’ when—well, when they don’t cease to shift? This is the question, and aesthetic predicament, with which a reader is continually confronted in Daniel Tiffany’s Brick Radio.
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Date: 15 March 2014

Peter Hughes: Allotment Architecture

Allotment Architecture, recently published by Reality Street, contains five separate sequences, ‘Lynn Deeps’, ‘Behoven’, ‘Site Guide’, ‘18’ and ‘Berlioz’. It is the fifteen pieces of ‘Site Guide’ that I wish to hold in focus here. Published in 2011 by The Arthur Shilling Press this group of poems had a subtitle, ‘(many days out in england & wales)’ but when the sequence was included in this new collection this was replaced by an epigraph, ‘for Heine, and the Caravan Club’.

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Date: 15 March 2014

James Fenton: Yellow Tulips

Reading James Fenton’s collected poems of over 40 years is a masterclass in the varying uses to which regular rhythms can be put. The obtrusive metres act as something of a through-line for this substantial selection. Sometimes they result in poems that bounce along like tennis balls, drawing attention by contrast to the rough terrain that they skip over. 

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Date: 15 March 2014

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