Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

Run by HappenStance Press

Painting of a woman coming out of the sea in a long dress, with a big hen on the shore, and chalk cliffs behind. Black lettering on white at topEvidence of Love, Marion Tracy

The Frogmore Press, 2021    £5.00

A strong title

I love the name of this pamphlet. It does a lot to get me started, and wanting to read. It’s intriguing and direct, and works as an excellent umbrella for the tender poems I then find inside.

Many of these are quite short; all fit neatly under that umbrella. Like a good poem title, this collection title brings more to my reading of each poem.

So is there a title poem? There is. A ten short-line one setting a vivid scene: the poet studying the aftermath of someone else’s evening in the sand dunes, remnants of a small fire, ‘Sandpiper pecking at / a used condom’.

There are lots of different kinds of ‘love’ gathered as evidence in this pamphlet.

And there is such tentativeness and tenderness about so many of these vulnerable poems. Such delicate drawings hung under her theme. ‘Sometimes it’s not possible / I can’t find / the right word’ starts ‘A Name for It’.

‘Kintsukuroi’, which means the same as ‘kintsugi’ and is defined in Wikipedia as ‘the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery... ’, reads:

It’s the whole     world dropped and fractured,
never perfect.     Degraded, vulnerable, sick,
our blue home wounded      in this darkest midnight,
will still breathe and sing       despite the pain

And yes, there’s pain. And intense vulnerability, and tales of near and far misses: a quiet, deep, lifelong study shared it seems to me in these delicate poems.

What’s to be done with this unlikely moment?’ is a question posed in the intoxicating ‘Kiss’. Indeed. That could almost be a subheading for the collection.

And so this poet probes the space between people, as she twists and pivots around her theme. ‘The Cliff’ has:

Chalk is the colour of distance, what breathed,
what hung in the air between them.

These poems stand well together. They’re helped and held by their framing. It allows this poet, again and again, to go quickly, deeply into her subject, culminating in the strong concluding poem ‘The Parts of Love’:

In loving, I am my own monster
and also a child.

Charlotte Gann