Gaps, Jenny Danes
Smith/Doorstop, 2017, £5.00
Gaps between languages
Jenny Danes’s pamphlet explores the definition of ‘gaps’ as ‘differences between views, situations, or ideas’ (Collins).
The lines from the title poem encapsulate the self-conscious choreography of steps through each other’s language that the speaker of the poem and her German partner undertake. These lines serve as an abstraction for the entire pamphlet:
[…] What is this complete
chance that you and I were brought up in different tongues?
How is it that we would name the same object or feeling differently
and always have done?
There is an assuredness of voice and technique at work here—many of the poems interrogate the world in which the poet finds herself:
From my sand-filled mouth
clauses trip and fall.
Dislocation is a key theme. As such, it is perhaps hard not to view these poems without the uncertainty of a post-Brexit Britain in mind. It is no accident that the poems open up into white space (there are very few full-stops at the end of Danes’s poems).