PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books

This review is taken from PN Review 247, Volume 45 Number 5, May - June 2019.

Cover of Rondo
William Poulos‘more or less everything’
Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Rondo (Carcanet) £9.99
In Rondo (a word which derives from an Old French term meaning ‘round’), Wallace-Crabbe revisits themes which occupied his earlier poems. This is not, however, meant to discount the pleasant variety of this collection and his poetry; there are still a hundred things to see before we get back home. Forms and themes adjoin to create a landscape like the diverse Aussie ones Wallace­Crabbe describes: the poems which don’t rhyme and scan sit with poems in quatrains and couplets. There is even a villanelle which undercuts the traditional pastoral theme by evoking hayfever, and this mix of the formal and informal characterises Wallace-Crabbe’s work.

What he does best is make you re-examine the things you’ve seen many times before; in the poem ‘Bits and Pieces’ he affirmed the importance of comfortable underwear (often taken for granted) and Rondo includes a poem about a sharpener, which begins:

Soft cedar turns against this blade
Coming away in aromatic flakes.
The red of a Staedtler stains an edge
Of these rising, falling petals […]

Here Wallace-Crabbe hasn’t just adorned the pencil with the characteristics of a flower; the polysyllabic and sensuous word ‘aromatic’ gives it gravity and beauty, and the slow fourth line ensures the reader doesn’t pass by it too quickly. Wallace-Crabbe shows us that the everyday is important, which is why his poetry is full of demotic diction: ‘she’s got the game by the balls’, ‘Fair enough’, ‘Get real’.

His colloquialism facilitates even his poems on ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image