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This review is taken from PN Review 108, Volume 22 Number 4, March - April 1996.

DOUGLAS CLARK, Selected Poems (Benjamin Press) £8.00
NAOMI WALLACE, To Dance a Stony Field (Peterloo) £6.95
MIKE JENKINS, This House My Ghetto (Seren) £5.95
TONY CONRAN, All Hallows: Symphony in 3 Movements (Gomer) £4.50
TESSA RANSFORD, Medusa Dozen (The Ramsay Head Press) £6.50

With so much excellent technology available, any small press enterprise can tum out productions as smart as any multinational publisher. This serves Douglas Clark well in his Selected Poems, but he is let down by his aggrandising presentations of himself as Artist as Hero-Magician. It will be difficult for some readers to take his epic angst seriously:

I think on Poetry
And how I am the unknown outsider.
I think on Love
And how it has always been outside

and he does himself no favours by describing his own collection as 'more of a vanity production'. This alone will put off any readers he deserves; a shame when he can write such successful poems as 'The Moor's Sigh (for the Granada of Federico Garcia Lorca)', which is thirty one lines of sustained panache. If only Clark would work with a sympathetic but firm editor - it is no good insisting on total control over your own book production if that control consists of banging the lid down on your own head with such firmness.

Naomi Wallace has a violent tum of phrase in To Dance a Stony Field, and she will certainly get ...

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