Tuesday, 17 February 2009

From the Body of the Green Girl

This is a new pamphlet from poet Paula Jennings, which I was given by a mutual friend for Christmas. Shame on me to have taken so long to get around to reading it. But then it's always important to be ready to receive things, especially things of such preciousness.

What particularly swept me away in these poems was how they had me metaphorically crouching in the detail of grass, water and darkness. I finished the pamphlet feeling as though I had been shrunk, like in A Fantastic Voyage, although sent through the veins, webs and hues of the wider world not just one body. That said, my body was vibrating by the end of this experience. Reading these poems one after the other forced not only a slowing down of experience (which then made me laugh with 'The Gift') as all strong poetry does, but a pulling back of the past too. These are poems that refer to our history as a familiar. Which is the true present.

In the sequence 'Looking for God' she takes us to sea. Oh lovely! Her sea is 'chiselled with light', and she turns to 'break in the right pattern'. I roiled and hammered with the waves of rhythm, uplifted by her delicate spiritual view. If I could encapsulate my experience othe sea with such a light confidence I would be content. And not just for writers is this a happy book, uplifting and expansive. Even the first poem, an elegy, while very quiet, is hopeful of the 'wordless news of the true forest'. Through Paula, nature is bursting to speak to us. I want to hear. If poetry isn't urgent, then why does it exist?

I'm not a reviewer, but sometimes you read a book and you just want everyone to know about it.

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