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This review is taken from PN Review 121, Volume 24 Number 5, May - June 1998.

PROVISIONAL LIGHT GILLIAN ALLNUTT, Nantucket and the Angel (Bloodaxe) £6.95
LAURIS EDMOND, In Position (Bloodaxe) £6.95

Gillian Allnutt explores a succession of mostly ageing figures that reflect aspects of her own search for an old age of rooted spirituality, where 'Silence is not an angel. It has legs.' The scheme is not whimsical. A fork must dig for her grandmother's remnants because the poet has 'invented dragons / to guard' them 'from my own finding': 'The house is full of visions, Gran, / Of what we are, were, always might have been.' It follows that her images and symbols should cut through divisions of time, space and consciousness and that figures from legend, history, and pictoral art fragment into Nantucket, an alter ego of ninety and 'clobbered with annunciation'. The 'sketches' depicting her manic tussle with a reprobate Angel associate objects by sound/sense in the broken syntax of prophecy and incantation. Once she's vanquished this wayward side of her soul 'she'll do with all the dignity of widowhood'.

Freed from projection into diverse selves, the crone speaks with gnomic authority. Annunciation now includes what Yeats' Mother of God sacrificed: 'the shows / Every common woman knows'. Epiphany is not crossing 'the abyss of sudden understanding' but an awareness of relative values. She comments: ...'You were in love with the splendid / rosewood of the Word. / And now the word rose weeps for you.' A rebuke that unfortunately applies to the book's earlier excesses, such as the exaggerated sprung rhythms and fulsome diction meant to suggest her callowness when her grandmother dies:

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