The Patchwork Press, 2006 - £3

this is an engaging little pamphlet, modest, friendly. Its small square pages make good use of space, offer themselves in pocket-sized readability. The writer is succinct and restrained. Her style often favours short sentence fragments, lines containing more than one full stop. In ‘Tuition’, for example:


Through photographs framed

and doors left half-open

we’d catch glimpses of their lives.

Single. Self-supporting. A bit odd.

At its best, this method works in the poet’s favour—there are lines here that stab and emphasise their disconnections as part of their meaning (‘What Inner Life’ is a good example). Occasionally, I felt the fragments a little too insistent and became too aware of this as a stylised rather than stylistic feature.

    But this is a poet who can work on the heart. There are a number of curiously moving pieces, the more so for their modesty and simplicity. In ‘Stuff’ for example, a little boy of four, looking at the empty cage of his granny’s dead budgie, remarks:


It’s left its stuff.

Said in that tone of voice

whose feeling will be known

to anyone who’s ever cleared

possessions from an empty house.

The sudden uselessness

of dishes, mirrors, bells.


I liked the person behind the poems, too, her scepticism about the ‘enlightened’ attitude to witches, her companionable address to Robert Louis Stevenson on a one-pound note, her awareness of her own footsteps. Many readers would enjoy this: it’s unassuming, quiet, affecting, extremely pleasurable to read. And it is poetry.


Helena Nelson


Available from the author for £3.00 including postage. Write to Irene Evans, The Patchwork Press, 17-19 Drummond Street, Muthill, Perthshire PH5 2AN, Scotland.