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’.

Charlotte Gann