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This review is taken from PN Review 91, Volume 19 Number 5, May - June 1993.

KINDS OF CORRECTNESS John Adlard, Songs for Dobra (Tuba Press) £5.40 pb
Fred Beake, The Whiteness of Her Becoming (University of Salzburg) £6.50 pb
Neil Curry, Walking To Santiago (Enitharmon) £7.95 pb
Peter Dent, Northwoods (Taxus) £5.95 pb
Leah Fritz, Somewhere En Route: Poems 1987-1992 (Loxwood Stoneleigh) £5.95 pb
Hepworth: a celebration, edited by David Woolley (Westwords) £4.50 pb
Rupert M. Loydell, Between Dark Dreams (Acumen Publications) £4.95 pb
Judith Kazantzis, The Rabbit Magician Plate (Sinclair Stevenson) £7.99 pb
Robert Pollet, Poetical Works (presses universitaires de nancy) n.p. pb
William Scammell, The Game: tennis poems (Peterloo Poets) £6.00 pb
Gloria Struthers, Sick Transit (Sinclair Stevenson) £8.95 pb
Matthew Sweeney, Cacti (Secker & Warburg) £6 pb
Wally Swist, For The Dance (Adastra Press) $8.00 pb
Martin Turner, Trespasses (Faber and Faber) £4.99 pb

John Adlard's last book The Lichfield Elegies collected quiet meditations on the relations of past and present and mourned the increasingly fragmented nature of experience. Songs For Dobra, inspired by a Dalmatian legend about a 15th-century witch and her beautiful daughter, takes the argument a step further by recreating a time and place when doubts about the human condition were likely to have been considered degenerate and even heretical. Adlard clearly had a lot of fun writing the Songs and there is something tremendously pleasing and inviting about the book's simplicity:

An old woman has sold me
Small black, squashy grapes.
Who was that old woman?
I have never tasted such pleasure.
I think I shall never see that old woman

Adlard's last book yearned for 'cordial, unfashionable songs': here he has supplied them himself and once again I thoroughly enjoyed being in the company of the generous and civilized mind that produced them. The Whiteness of Her Becoming collects poems from 1966-91 to give us a body of work which Jon Silkin's introduction calls 'idiosyncratic' and 'in the best sense, eccentric'. These seem appropriate adjectives to apply to a poet whose major influences have been Bunting, Heath-Stubbs and the poets loosely grouped around J.H. Prynne. Silkin is right to identify 'Mrs James' and 'Against War', a translation of Tibullus, as standout pieces but the rest of the book is a disappointment. ...

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