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This review is taken from PN Review 158, Volume 30 Number 6, July - August 2004.

PAEANS TO LIFE SARAH LAW, The Lady Chapel (Stride) £8.50
CLIFF FELL, The Adulterer's Bible (Victoria University Press) $24.95
ANNA LIVESEY, Good Luck (Victoria University Press) $24.95
LYNNE WYCHERLEY, At The Edge of Light (Shoestring Press) £7.95

The Lady Chapel is divided into two sections; the first being like a paean to life itself. Law asks the question:

If I
could forgo the pleasures of the flesh,
the short-term crash of enervated measure,
I would not notice my face grow old,
my fingers, with their precious circulation
would remain intact for; pointing,
arrowlike, toward the greater good.
No stirring.

She bases her observations on life upon the everyday and uses this as a starting point to compose a spiritual inquiry into what it means to be alive. With titles such as `A Magdalene Reading', `To Saint Teresa of Avila' and ` Diviner', a reader might be surprised to discover the spirit of a curious voice that wanders down all manner of pathways before standing very still to practise the yoga stretches of the second section. Throughout, there is a delicacy and highly observational style which allows the reader to experience the subtlety of breath in `our differences of mood, manner, or address. Juxtaposed with this are the skittish poems such as `Who needs a Love Life when you've got Poetry?' and `Carob Resolution'. `Stretch: A Yoga Sequence' felt too contrived and the emotions were bordering on the sentimental; coupled with this there are uncomfortable combinations of language such as:`obeisance' and `hoiked'. Unfortunately a reader might be left, ultimately, with a feeling the prosody is in danger of bordering on the unconvincing.


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