A poignant collection – The Year of the Crab reviewed

February 8th, 2018 § 0 comments

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Peter Ualrig Kennedy’s review of The Year of the Crab, By Gordon Meade, begins:

A diagnosis of cancer must inevitably concentrate the mind … those of us who are in sound health may find it difficult to envision the depths of despair engendered by such a diagnosis, or to think about the pains and indignities of surgery and radiotherapy, or fully to appreciate the burgeoning of hope as the faint rays of recovery appear on the horizon […]

In this poignant collection, in which each poem takes the author and his readers through the various stages of his Year of the Crab, Meade employs an economic and spare poetic style to profound effect. A philosophy shines through these poems – unsurprisingly, given the backdrop of cancer, the mood flickers between darkness and light, encompassing a classic trajectory from despair through anger, resignation, and at last to hope.

The poems in The Year of the Crab take us from Meade’s diagnosis…

His illness has come on him like an overwhelming sea. The early poems brim with fear: “Why fall asleep when you will never know / whether or not you will ever wake again? / … I have decided not to sleep at all. I wonder / for just how long I will be able to keep it up.”

… through his treatment, at first in London, and then a return to Meade’s native Scotland…

He becomes more tranquil; he sees Nature more clearly. The sea in February “looks crisp, like liquid / ice, slowly rolling in, unfurling itself, / and then breaking. I have / never seen greyness look / so bright. The slopes of the waves / have the same sheen on them as / the backs of dolphins …” but all of a sudden, and dramatically, he is plunged back into the maelstrom of hospitalisation and radiotherapy.

Peter Kennedy reveals, at the end of the review, that ‘Gordon Meade is, praise be, in remission, in Fife, and in good form.’ Read the full review on London Grip.

Buy the book for £10 plus p&p: The Year of the Crab.

Gordon Meade has two other poetry collections available from Cultured Llama: Sounds of the Real World and Les Animots: A Human Bestiary, with images by Doug Robertson.

Postage and packing is free if you order two or more books.

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