Monday, April 16, 2012

“The Cost of Walking” by Shannon Tharp

“The Cost of Walking” by Shannon Tharp (Skysill Press, 80pp, £8.95 / $15.00. ISBN: 978-1-907489-06-8)

When I received this book, the latest from Skysill Press, I opened it at random and saw this:


as a flower
a split lark's

To present a six-line poem in which four of the lines consist of a single word is a brave move; there's nowhere to hide, so the words have to be right. In this case, 'graphic' is a striking adjective for 'flower', and even more so for the song of a bird. The word 'blooms' being a verb, serves to push the poem forward and 'split' is again, a striking word, applied to both the lark - where it suggests pain or parting, or some less definable rift - and to the stream of its song; which is 'minor' as in musical key, but with suggestions of smallness or insignificance. The title, 'Poem', suggests to the reader that this may be a poem about a poem, a piece of language, an object, which, in WS Graham's phrase, is "an addition to the world". This adds an extra dimension to the piece, where the word 'graphic' for example, implies a whole poetic ethos (which is distinctly American), from imagism onwards, and where the word 'minor', alluding to music, has a different sense when applied to poetry.

To read the full review on Litter, click here.

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