Sometimes reviews take a long time to reach us. Lunar Poetry is back in business, after a break from publishing, and we were delighted to find a review (by Phoebe Walker) of Short of Breath by Vivien Jones in Issue 9, June 2016. Phoebe Walker begins her review:
A forensic eye is at work in this collection […] an acuity that penetrates through the various meditative, idiomatic and nostalgic tones of these poems. Jones’ knack for detail results in poetry with great sensory appeal, from the images of silver salmon boiling in shallow water, of chocolate eaten “slow as ivy”, to the sensation of an elm sucking sap “up my barley sugar ribs”. fingertips “speckled/ with black oak splinters/ sore in skin softened/ by tallow”.
The magazine costs only £5 per issue and can be ordered at Lunar Poetry.
Short of Breath costs £10 plus p&p.
Gebbie’s style is taut, a distillation of everything that led to the poems. And as she walks us down the places, through the lives of the people ravaged, the deepest essence of that history rises as light as locomotive steam, or a singing kettle. Slices of life from the immediate and distant past are woven to create a sense of bustle in her poems (The Meat Porter’s Derby, for example), and allowed to be ploughed through by an incident of war pegged to the place. As Gebbie remarks through the persona in the poem (Ceramic Poppies, Tower of London), A few more days and/ they’ll be gone. Wish them good luck./ For all their bluster,/they look fragile to me. The characters in her poems are so wounded that they carry a mesh of noise with them through their lives. Even reimagine the path of a piece of artillery in reverse, until it is as distant as the flash…of energy/ on the surface/of an adolescent star (Artillery) […]
This book is not just recommended reading for lovers of poetry. Anyone who has even the remotest of interest in the immediate and long-term effects of war ought to read and see how it brings to life the minutiae of war. You cannot walk away unmarked; you cannot leave these places/ on your own. The unknowns leave with you… (Unknowns for C). Because “Memorandum poems for the fallen” is that flaming brand which tattoos its readers indelibly.
You can read the full review on Open Road Review.
Memorandum: Poems for the Fallen costs £10 plus p&p. Buy two books or more from Cultured Llama, and postage and packing is free.
Once again, we thank those reviewers who take such time and care to review our books.