Friday, April 6, 2007

Went to see Chekhov's 'The Cherry Orchard' at Sheffield last night. Great performances, including Joanna Lumley, brilliantly cast as Madame Ranevsky. A nightmare journey in the Easter traffic (2 hours to do the 40 miles from Nottingham), but we got there in time.

I'm currently reading Rae Armantrout's new collection 'Next Life', having been introduced to this wonderful poet by a friend of mine. I'll enthuse more about this book in a later post. In the meantime, two short notices of books received, the first recently, the second some time ago.

'Green Darlings' by Mary Maher. pub. Overstep Books, Salcombe, Devon.

Top quality mainstream poetry by a writer who has been featured on Litter. Themes of motherhood, family, illness and absence expertly handled and with a strength that comes in part from mixing broader and more abstract writing with the personal and domestic. Recommended. Here's a sample:


when my head's no longer clever
it will be beautiful instead

a skull polished by earth's societies

a globe of bone inviting
a hand a new cradle

when I'm empty-headed
a maze of orifices will open up

my mind beyond belief

'My Life in Films' by Mary Michaels. pub. The Other Press, London.

A collection of prose pieces which, while looking at first like short stories, are best approached as prose-poems. They're disjunctive and fragmentary, and, as you'd expect from the title, use cinematic effects, switching between the movies themselves and the making of them (there's a long list of movie directors at the end whose work is referenced in the book). Some of these 'fictions' were more vivid and engaging than others (as you'd expect I suppose), but it's an interesting change of direction from a writer whose poetry is fairly conventional.

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