Theory of Colour, Barbara A Morton
Entropie Books, £6.00
A thing of beauty
I read this on the right day – stuck in, by the fire, with the weather howling… Theory of Colour is the most beautiful thing. A gorgeous greeny slate-blue cover, (with matching bookmark!), the pamphlet is gorgeously-stitched and set on beautiful textured ivory paper in an italicised face (I have an enormous weakness, always, for italics). Even the press’s name – Entropie – drew me. Handling this book of only eight poems feels deliciously like going back in time…
The poems inside, untitled, occupy the lower part of each page. They carry their own authority. (I try hard not to be distracted by an ‘it’s’ where should be ‘its’ early on.) They form a sense of poet in thought, and in a sparse landscape, (as befits their design). The look of the poem on the page feels as significant as anything else about it.
Half pose riddles: ‘if we pass suddenly / from one state to another / we find the effects last… ’. These don’t necessarily make sense; yet, in their context, I find a wish to accept them. They’re centred on the page.
The others – which speak more directly to me – are both left and right justified, with gutters running through them. Here are parts from two: ‘what age is this what landscape / this mute palette of isolation of / wide space and sorrow and snow’; or ‘in the night the wind rose again / in to my dream’. I like them. Like reading them this arctic morning – as if I’ve stumbled onto an ancient code that, maybe, if I sit quietly, I’ll gradually decipher. The book’s beautifulness feels part of this: ‘the rocks / were wet and strong and forgiving / here they said here we forgive you everything’.