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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jane Draycott

From a short review of mine of Jane Draycott’s Over, in today’s TLS:

In the same way that the titles of the final sequence, based on the international phonetic alphabet, often have an elliptic relationship with their subject matter, ‘Zulu’ is a poem about the author’s father which proceeds entirely by negation. The long last sentence beings with a ‘Nor’ that cancels all that follows, the description of the father’s travels, and how he would return home and:

come in and play for hours
on our old Broadwood, his fingers
truly a river in spate around the house
and out into the desert of our street,
named for the small hill on which we lived.

None of this happened, in other words; but whether fictive or real, these poems are messengers bringing ‘news from another place’, in writing that is assured, sophisticated and moving.

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