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Dinner with Superman, Jane Bonnyman

Red Squirrel Press, 2020    £6.00

Romance, at last

Dinner with Superman recounts a series of disastrous dates and failed relationships with prospective superheroes — and as a hopeless romantic, it absolutely charmed the socks off me.

Amidst scenery changes and rehearsed lines, Jane Bonnyman describes let-downs and abandonments, her romantic aspirations at the mercy of men in red capes or brandishing spider logos upon their chests. The image from the title poem ‘Dinner with Superman’ depicts her position perfectly:

I stand in front of my door like a Lego woman,
my arm raised in the posture of a wave. 
In the distance the red flash of a cape.

But there is romance to be found here — such as in the beauty of these poems’ locations. Many of the featured sets we are already familiar with, but the poet’s vivid imagery and linguistic artistry enhance what we already know of these scenes, as in ‘La La Land’:

the moon and all those stars —
silver coins set into the dark
[…]
where the globe lights are lemon drops                
and the pavement’s bathed in gold.

Having had her fill of disappointment from the superheroes, high achievers and literary gods (Rochester, Gabriel Oak), our heroine realises her own worth in ‘Diva Poem’ when she becomes Wonder Woman: ‘Finally — after all this time — a true Amazonian.’

Her senses restored, enhanced even, Bonnyman concludes with two poems which capture real love as gentle, underplayed, sincere — as shown in ‘Rewriting The Notebook’:

I don’t need to ask. You’re always there.
No fury or hubbub, yours is a quiet love,
But it’s enough, it’s enough.

A tenderness emerges in ‘Late’ which confirms the poet’s mission complete. Here, Bonnyman delivers the happy ending I was so wishing for:

Warm air from the open window,
the apricot sky and the hill’s shadow
[…]
You watch me from the doorway,
two giant towels in your arms.’  

Vic Pickup

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