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This review is taken from PN Review 147, Volume 29 Number 1, September - October 2002.

OBLIQUE TRACKING GLEN CAVALIERO, Ancestral Haunt (Poetry Salzburg) £8.95

Glen Cavaliero's fifth collection, substantial, elegantly produced, with a sensitive introduction by D.M. de Silva, gathers together work which the poet has steered into four sections: 'In Cromwell's Country', 'On Parade', 'Going Places' and 'Crossbeam'. The theme wound into this ordering, approached glancingly, playfully, signed by its absence or by a fully charged realisation of its power is the presence of the metaphysical dimension, that mysterium in which imaginative creation operates by its very nature. As Cavaliero says, in The Supernatural and English Fiction (Oxford, 1995), 'The Absolute is not to be tracked down like some unknown statue in a sacred grove'; his oblique tracking in Ancestral Haunt is conducted by means of the artifices of cadence, patterning and musicality. We are led through the tattered and torn absences of a fenland landscape, where Ely Cathedral's Lady Chapel holds 'a hall/of butchered images', to the ambivalent release of the book's penultimate poem, 'The Embarkation'. At some tentative last the scurrying changes of history are left behind, and old tombs 'can prop each other up'.

'In Cromwell's Country' leads us into troubled webs of indirection, its imagery suggestive of random despoliation, of pitching camp among the ruins: that 'brood of huddled leather, deaf with fixing...' in 'Leicester Red', those 'grubby beaches with their know-how boys' in 'Southern Shore'. Such tatty sobrieties are relieved by Cavaliero's trademark macabrejaunty- satirical note, tautly expressed in 'Pastoral', 'White Witch' and 'Rutterkin', and there are redemptions, as in 'The Strong Gate':

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