Friday, 14 September 2012

Reviews of Brahic and Gaffield

An online review this week of Berverly Bie Brahic’s White Sheets (shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize): ‘Brahic’s poems are lyrics of various residences. Shifts of place in White Sheets follow her trajectory of living abroad, through French, Italian, American, and Irish locales. Her shifts are more thorough than that, though . . . In addition to poetic shape-shifting, subtle confrontations often lurk deceptively behind the ordinary. The title poem “White Sheets” opens Brahic’s collection, and its epigram, Airstrike hits wedding party, creates tension in what appears to be the everyday – a domestic scene troubled only by the anxiety of one line against the ominous instinctive movements of the woman collecting laundry . . . In some poems, such as “The Annunciations”, a change in point of view may result in intrusion, but Brahic rejoices, as Bellini does, in what is divulged . . . The rhythms of her lines are disturbed almost imperceptibly with dashes, parentheticals, and lacunae as object (or subject) resists. Here as elsewhere, Brahic scrutinizes, offers us a language of post-exposure reparation.’

This week’s TLS has a belated review of Nancy Gaffield’s Tokaido Road, which won last year’s Aldeburgh First Collection Prize: ‘Employing a variety of stanza forms and the prose poem, Tokaido Road invites the reader, poem by delicately delineated poem, to enter the old scenes as well as the poet’s mind and if, at first reading, the poems feel quiet and meditative, we learn to spot each slight ripple of emotion . . . Gaffield’s collection is a fascinating fusion of Western and Eastern art by someone who is respectful of both.’

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