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REVIEWS

I Left No Footsteps Behind Me – Barry Fitton
 
Barry Fitton writes about real places and people with an easy accessible style and a simplicity which has earned him the soubrette of “Beat Writer”.     He often rejects this label perhaps believing that it is dated but, as his latest collection of poems from his domicile in Amsterdam, I Left No Footsteps Behind Me, proves not only is he a Beat writer but that he is a very fine beat writer and more importantly a writer who deals with contemporary subjects in a modern style.
 
He sets out his objective in the verse laid PROLOGUE
 
 
This is not just about me,
its about a way of life that does not exist anymore,
that cannot exist
because of state of the world that we live in.
there is no longer the trust,
the feeling of safety when you travel,
the freedom to just go where you wanted to
is no longer there ,
so many restrictions
due to wars,
politics  etc.
in  one way
it’s a travel book
in another
 it’s a collection of snapshots
 
 
The collection works to fulfill Fitton’s objective, and reading through the poems gives the impression of viewing incidents and events through his eyes and being made party to them.   Smoking Maruanna which is legally obtained in coffee houses in Amsterdam figures prominently in these poems as he says in A MODERN ODYSSEY
 
 
 
He moved on
into the night
forever searching
he tried
pipes & bongs
vaporizers
and many, many
different
types of
joints
 
They were
hand rolled
machine rolled
factory rolled
sweatshop rolled
in the back streets
of Calcutta
of Bangkok
of Izmir
 And
countless
other strange
&
wonderfilled
places
around the
globe
 &
 Jungles
of Africa
 
From travellers on their way to India who don’t make it, to street philosophers who hand you a bag of life with a warning.   In CANDY MAN he opens the gift of a bag of life which had been given with a warning,  he writes
 
 
inside
all I saw
was a
gilded mirror
the writing
on it said
 
This way
 to oblivion
and
I
knew
it
did
not
lie
 
 
There is a melancholy about these poems which obviously represent a reassessment of his life but at the same time there is a feeling that he would have it no other way.
 
 I Left No Footsteps Behind Me - Hole Books 2004
 

 
 
Maenad Angel Poetics - Dolly Sen
 
In this book Dolly Sen writes the song of an angel rejected by society.  It is a dark book with strong and sometimes troubling images which confront meaning and preconceptions.  It is written in a freely rhymed style with a feeling of a flow of consciousness similar to the improvised hip hop.  And it is the improvisation which stands out and creates weaknesses in the narrative but which is ultimately its greatest strength.  As Dolly Sen writes;
 
The only baggage I have
Is my Wings
 
Is life
A flight of fancy
 
Or again here as she writes;
 
I’m pissing my life away
The urine
Sublime
Of time.
 
Timeless
Is rhymeless
 
 
There is a profound story of modern life being expressed here the alienation of the individual who is a little different and who does not fit in being left behind by a society moving quickly, perhaps too quickly.   Overall this is a very interesting long poem and it deserves to be read at a single reading.  The strongest part is perhaps the ending which manages a satisfying resolution

 

Maenad Angel Poetics - Published by Hole Books 2004

 

Earth Tides by Maureen Weldon

Maureen Weldon is a class act, a lyrical poet who imbues every image with the power to evoke a sense of the extraordinary.  In her new short collection Earth Tides she explores everyday events and moments from life. 
 
In THE DANCER she talks of approaching night
 
I am tired
my brain hangs loose,
locked in my rucksack.
This is the hour for the owl to fly,
to hoot at the winking moon –
through clouds of mist.
 
I found this to be a remarkable poem which speaks of her individuality and yet finds a voice that touches everyone.  Many of the poems in the booklet have this quality as here in MEMORY;
 
It is every year,
like the long road,
or the moon
caught in the shadows
of a banyan tree.

Much of Maureen’s work is about taking this personal, sometimes historical, perspective and seeing how an individual can impact upon the world and how much the individual is changed by events.  This is from the poem IN THE FOREST AFTER MIDNIGHT:

A bat streaks past the tip
of a gnarled branched tree
to touch the clouds.
The lad, his eyes translucent
as the stars – dances.
In the shadows, the girl lies,
her open thighs
glistening like needles
 

Events are charged with a quality which evokes but at the same time gives a sense of otherness, that the events and things being spoken of are special and somehow part of secret rituals which only the writer sees.

Earth Tides - £4.00 – (Poetry Monthly Press) ISBN 1-903031-29-X

(Jim Bennett)

 



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