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This review is taken from PN Review 111, Volume 23 Number 1, September - October 1996.

MASTERFUL IMAGES
JEREMY HOOKER & LEE GRANDJEAN, Their Silence a Language (Enitharmon) £8.95
CLIVE WILMER, Selected Poems (Carcanet) £8.95
 

You shape the image:
it is a bridge we cross over
to meet in the world.


This moment from 'Steps', a haiku sequence, the first poem of twenty four in Their Silence a Language, suggests the collection's many creative journeys. The 'place' of the poem is at one level the New Forest, already announced in prose -embedded in a texture of interspersed jottings, sense-impressions, reflections on the history, ecology, etymological 'grounding' of the area - and by a photograph of one of Lee Grandjean's sculptures; at another level it is the place on the page that the reader is invited to explore, retracing the rhythms of Hooker and Grandjean in their own walking, observations and contemplation. It invites then a complicated act of collaboration, felt not only in the world of wood as subject, texture, source of metaphorical connections, but also in the mode of address: 'you' here embraces poet (as sculptor), sculptor, and reader (as sculptor): all part of the 'shaping' that is central to the deliberately 'opened' process revealed in the book. Hooker unveils his hopes for the reader, in a concluding critical essay, 'At the Edge', to 'half-create' and to discover through 'participating imagination' a work analogous to a wood 'in which mystery is integral to its being, and which therefore cannot be exhausted.' In practice 'Steps' is hedged typographically by ...


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