Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

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Sleeping Through, Faith LawrenceThe cover is white, with a band of monochrome photograph in the bottom thiurd. This shows a busy scene in the open air that includes a large dog and some semi-clad humans. One of the people might be pretending to be a dog. The title is centred lower case black in the very middle of the pamphelt. Below it the author's name in small blue sans serif caps. A line about an inch from the top is interrupted by blue caps for Laureates Choice and below this in small black lower case 'chosen by Carol Ann Duffy'.

Smith | Doorstep, 2019    £7.50

In celebration of the short poem

In Faith Lawrence’s rich debut, we see a writer who has such mastery of her words that she doesn’t need very many of them to communicate some of the biggest ideas and the most complex of emotions. One of her many gifts to us, in this pamphlet, is the quality of contraction — for which she praises winter for in ‘The Gift’:

The gift of winter
is to limit us, to make morning
in an hour

There are also some sequences of small poems in the book — for example, ‘Flowering’, a piece ‘after the eleven paintings by Sophie Breakenridge’, and the fantastic ‘Three Songs’, ‘for Delia Derbyshire’ where the poet uses words from an interview with the electronic music pioneer as her springboard. The poet weaves these excerpts (from the interview) into snippets of thoughts that led me back to some of the theme tunes of my life. For example, we learn the inspiration behind the Doctor Who theme was

that no human music
could ever be as remote
as this.

In ‘Windfall’, she gives the full life of an apple in just five, short, three-line stanzas, until it is taken back into the earth

As if its edges meant
nothing, as if it had always
belonged to the earth.

And at the end of the book, this is how I was left feeling — as if this collection of beautifully-crafted thoughts and moments has somehow always been with me.

Jane Thomas