Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dead Redhead by Tracey Herd

This is a wonderful book! Tracey Herd writes with such great passion but it is all tightly controlled within her poetry. She uses words beautifully, understanding rhyme and rhythm and the way words sound together. Her starting point for the poems in this collection are often tragic red headed women from history though there are also poems about her father and about horses. Her poetry often includes wonderful images, like this from the series Leaving the Enchanted City:

The evening light is cognac,
restful in its black glass.
The city is a gold scrolled tray
piled with lights and lifted smoothly,
shoulder high, by a silent
white gloved waiter.


She does heartbreak beautifully too, where the raw emotion is finely balanced and held in her well crafted words, as here in The Shy Stranger:

She is carrying her body
to the Cascades
where it is lonely and cold,
where winter will shake
its bewildered head
over the ruins of her skull.


This is poetry at its best, powerful, passionate and well crafted. You can read some of her poems here or better go along to your nearest bookshop and buy a copy of Dead Redhead!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Alienation

I sit locked out,
my nose pressed against glass
only I know about.

You sense my distance
but cannot understand
the why of it.

The space I cannot cross.

I watch you dance
with strange disjointed steps
to music I cannot hear.

A ritual to which I can never belong.

You laugh to see me sit alone
as it I made a foolish choice
I am too proud to own.

But I cannot join
this thing that makes no sense
this thing that for me is so unreal.

I must dance to a lonelier beat.



Previously published in Spume magazine.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Spoken Here - Mark Abley

This is a book for anyone fascinated by languages. The author visits speakers of some of the most threatened languages in the world, visiting Australia, USA, Canada, Wales, France and The Isle of Man. He explores why the languages are threatened, looks at the structure of the languages and what is unique to each of them, what the world would lose if each of these languages were to disappear. He also looks at how people are trying to keep their language alive and tries to assess whether each language has any chance of surviving. Anyone who thinks it isn't worthwhile for local authorities in Wales to publish everything in Welsh as well as English should change their minds after reading this book.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Haiku

I never wear makeup, even when I'm out clubbing. But for a subtle hint of glamour, you can't beat glitter.

On the dancefloor -
glittery skin shimmers
under the lights.


Subtle changes for One Deep Breath.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

First Kiss

Lips and the absurdity of tongues.

For some this moment
is a fumbling end to potential intimacy
in clashing braces
the taste of nicotine breath

For us though, twelve years ago
the lips that had smiled and spoken
finally met
sweet tongues explored mouths
gently

a beginning of forever.


Kissing for Sunday Scribblings. I also thought it was about time to post a happy love poem, which is truer to my personal reality than my endless poems of unrequited love, though those too are true in their own way.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Detail

White margin


Focus in


Frame


Time kaleidoscopes


the moment asserts itself
like a red dress
against snow.



Monday, January 01, 2007

Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutierrez

This is a stunning book, narrated by a character who has very insightful things to say about life in Havana, in between the rather mind boggling number of sexual encounters he has. Havana comes across as a place of poverty where, when they're not indulging in sex marathons, everyone is struggling to find enough to eat, prepared to take any job to make a few pesos to be able to buy some food, cigarettes and rum. Beautiful old buildings are falling apart and overflowing with desperate people living in cramped spaces in rooms and on roofs. Very well translated by Natasha Wimmer.

Finally a haiku review of the book:

sex, rum and more sex
in seedy Havana streets -
social commentary.