Dream Into Play, Richard SkinnerThe jacket is divided into roughly two triangular areas. The top triangle (the dividing line runs from nearly top left to nearly bottom right). The top triangle is white, the bottom mustard yellow. The author's name is mustard yellow, small lower case justified left in the top left corner of the white area. Just below this the collection title is justified right in small bold black caps.

Poetry Salzburg, 2022     £8.00


Note: The text that follows is collaged variously, with the author’s permission, from poems in the collection. Quotations are faithfully represented.

I have been swallowing lemons whole. What is this here? A setting? A plot? Struggle on — almost with a sense of disappointment. When we understand, there may not even be a mystery. The sea rolls in —

            [ …] all the hurt, unsaid, never
solved, lapping up on some distant shore.
     [‘The Real Star’]

But then all that apprehension melts away. Centuries before that, he was about to die. It is not easy. It’s the kind of knowledge no man grasps on his own. A better design hits you full in the face:

While sitting, lift your poem off the ground. Rotate your poem at the
ankles counterclockwise. Repeat ten times, then reverse the direction.
     [‘Poems in the Restroom’]

The truth a poem emplaces often lies in its pattern. But who knows? Whichever way I look, what to hold on to? I am not inflexible. It is just that you are dazzled by the angle of entry, all the kinks and knots of us, for all to see: ‘Words […] run in sluices’ (‘The Gift’).

Poems are unloaded as freight. We have walked side by side into spaces where light has spilled in. A door clicks and falls open, the opening door, not the wide-open space, the see-through paper door into this brilliant corner…. Walking is nothing but a controlled way of falling.

I believe I am being conducted to the invisible world. One is thus brought to some strange lessons in reading. Necessity is the tears of invention. The critic is nothing other than a commentator.

When the time comes, feast on words flowing endlessly:

You yourself go underground
dissolving at the bottom
My large blue wife
is holding the wrong hand
     [‘Life in a Oncetime’]

I have no delusions — life and work are pure graft, the truth lies elsewhere. I don’t want to say anything like a review of a film or a book. We have all turned into sunflowers.

Helena Nelson