When I first started my second full length book ‘The End of Summer’ just after I got Diabetes at the end of 2011, the plan originally wasn’t just to write a variety of end games – end of season kind of poems reflecting changes but also layer it with political poetry. Poetry that besides covering emotions in the change of seasons also reflected the change of emotions or seasons in extreme situations, real emotions mirrored in extreme feelings which was the way my life was feeling at that stage.
However, as the book developed, it ended up by the end of 2013 becoming two different camps with the political poetry mostly becoming focused on the after affects of war and how it affected the common man. Europa which came at the start of 2014, was the first out of the two of them to appear reflecting a similar mood to the End of Summer which came just over a year with a lot of the pieces stripped totally down from work which came before which I know shocked a few people at the time with the way I let the situations tell the stories with no judgment.
The End of Summer which followed just over a year later, told stories but chose to reflect on the scency more for mood and tell their own stories rather than what horrific conditions people were placed in against their choice.
On a similar level, its always interesting when a writer brings out two collections say of poetry often in a short (ish) period and you find yourself looking at both of them and compare them not as much in content or context. Take the example of two recent collections by Liverpool born poet, Eleanor Rees ‘Blood Child’ and ‘Riverine’. It wouldn’t be hard to believe like with my own ‘The End of Summer’ a lot of these poems started off together in the same collection before splitting into two different folders almost by nature.
Blood Child first is laced with all kinds of spiritual and un-usual images for example ‘Dusk Town’ which develops a side view of Runcorn I had never seen before with the tone of the city mirroring in the thrust of a train’s rush which has a indepth mysteries nature that really rang well with me and required a few re-readings to let the words slink into the back of my thoughts.
Arne’s Progress, a six part sequence is even more striking of images of nature with seagulls flapping its wings in the glasshouse mirrors perfectly with a violinist playing Dvorak (who I had to doublecheck exactly I knew who Dvorak) is counterblanaced with under-statement and a sadness that is laced throughout the full book in a magic just tapping out of sight.
Riverine which followed I think around 6 months later towards the end of 2015 is stated on the back of the collection as a compianon piece to Blood Child but possibly because it touched upon areas closer to me (I live in Manchester) ‘In my ears and in my eyes’ brought back a lot of memories of my own upbringing in Stretford with sodden and soapy old men in laundettes luquid held in tension over fears they had no words for. Excellent stuff.
Eleanor’s work over both books is laced with detail, detail and detail which is something a lot of writers (including myself I am honest enough to admit) that requires reading which in two reasonably short collections can leave you spellbound for example my favourite bit of ‘In my ears and in my eyes’
Turf billowing up and over pools of last night’s
Rain. A Woman
Steps up from under the mud
Covered with sludge; she springs towards the gate,
Towards the lights, wet fabric clings to her form
And the puddle erupts.
The poems eurpt for me frequently with silent explosions across nature carrying a timelessness littered with ghosts or mysteries which wander past each other like passing ships in the night.
Blood Child can be bought from http://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/59906
Riverline can be bought from http://www.gatehousepress.com/2015/12/riverine-by-eleanor-rees-lighthouse-poetry-pamphlet-iii/