Michael Haslam, The Quiet Works.
Oystercatcher Press. £4.00 A5 16pp. ISBN: 978-1-905885-21-3.
This pamphlet, which I've just bought, comes highly recommended. Haslam is one of our elder-statesman, a contemporary of Peter Riley and Lee Harwood. His work is like neither of theirs, consisting of highly-wrought lyrical utterances, though, like Riley, he investigates landscape as a palimpset, a layered record of social history, and the individual's place within it. "The Quiet Works" is "the latest, or last, of a Work, under the general title 'Continuale Song' in print (2009) in the following books: Mid Life (Shearsman 2007), The Music Laid Her Songs in Language (Arc 2001), A Sinner Saved by Grace (Arc 2005), and A Cure for Woodness (Arc 2009). Details of these publications may be found here.
The poetry works best when read out loud, which brings out its alliterative music:
Disquieted poor lover stumbles in defeat
as yelping plover tips the tumbril, tumbles
from a troubled youth his mill-shed fumbles
through to elders' umbral gloom and grumbles
where waters meet in derelicted darkness,
at a confluence of brooks: the spill of self disgorged
where goit-wall crumbles into streaming turmoil.
Great stuff from Peter Hughes' Oystercatcher Press; it was great to see it pick up the Michael Marks Publishers'Award (for outstanding UK publisher of poetry in pamphlet form).