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This review is taken from PN Review 207, Volume 39 Number 1, September - October 2012.

Elements in their Places deena linett, The Gate at Visby (Tiger Bark Press) $16.95

The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.
                                                                  - Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, #129

The gifts of poetry are many and various. But poems seldom give what we think we want at a time we want it. Surprise is our most evanescent sense and frequently the prelude to discovery. In the poetry of Deena Linett, unknown outside her native North America, lies the promise of the kind of arresting first encounters that build beyond our transient sense of surprise into a genuine poetry of acquaintance and knowing.

Linett is one of those rare migrants who came to poetry from the novel and published her first collection, Rare Earths (BOA, 2001), at the age of 63. Of this debut Molly Peacock was quick to note the arrival of a 'sophisticated aesthetic' in poems 'steeped in geographical atmosphere and narrative mystery'. And if that was true of Rare Earths, it was an aesthetic reaffirmed with her second book, Woman Crossing a Field (BOA, 2006), which showed an expansive lyrical and metaphysical engagement, a willingness, perhaps even a need, to talk, to question, to speak into and from a world recognisably present in our most intimate encounters with nature.

In Woman Crossing a Field Peacock's earlier observation about place implied an unforced, unpretentious animism that could amplify geography, place and landscape into soul-filled extensions of the human body. A poem such as 'Arnold's Meadow' suggests that ...


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