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This review is taken from PN Review 154, Volume 30 Number 2, November - December 2003.

SYMPTOMS OF LOSS MARTHA KAPOS, My Nights in Cupid's Palace (Enitharmon) £7.95
JUDY GAHAGAN, Night Calling Enitharmon) £7.95
GREGORY WARREN WILSON, Jeopardy (Enitharmon) £7.95
RHIAN GALLAGHER, Salt Water Creek (Enitharmon) £7.95


My Nights in Cupid's Palace by Martha Kapos highlights the effects love has on life, balancing words and emotions with great delicacy. Freedom beckons in everything, and the extraordinary is seen in the everyday:

... I'm floating
inches above the ground, the pocket in my apron
growing into a pouch so large that it could hold
Medusa's head, J-cloths flapping
from my heels like the wings of Mercury


This world is a recognisable and familiar one, and yet Kapos's insights into it are often startling, revealing the wildness under the surface. In 'Wolf in the Kitchen' her partner is compared to a wild animal at bay: "You wait crouched down behind / your eyes, so deeply out of reach". The lover is also represented as the sun:

Shining like a lunatic
your smile plays hell
with all astronomy


Some characters in the poems live in dreams, waiting for something that will never come, revealing the disillusionment of fairy tales. There is a maturity about these poems - a sense of having been burned before alongside the trepidation of laying one's feelings before someone else.

Opposites, doubles, paradoxes are paramount. Kapos suggests that trying to understand relationships is feeling like a child listening to 'untranslated language'. The sea in turmoil represents feelings; the tide goes in and out like a pulse. Opposites are seen in the highs and lows of love and life, ...


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