PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This review is taken from PN Review 160, Volume 31 Number 2, November - December 2004.

TIME WATCH ULLI FREER, Speakbright Leap Passwood (Salt)
IAN DAVIDSON, At a Stretch (Shearsman Books) £8.95
Harsh (Spectacular Diseases) £7.50

Ulli Freer's poetry seems to patter on and on, like rainfall, or perhaps like the London borough of Barnet municipal water supplies being emptied into a pool of mighty Koi carp outside my window: passing gone turned pages of many books, phrases grabbed at, returned to mobile shelving; a few good words coming back later to be euphoniously reordered in these marching columns. Speakbright Leap Passwood is selected from twenty years of his work, and in it Freer witnesses something of the whole parade - Thatcherism is supplanted by Majorism is supplanted by Blairism. Did I miss anything? He speaks bright - a trippy alliterativeness and a pleasure in rhyme for its own sake - makes leaps of sparked connection - or disconnection - and reveals the secret password that will enable us to pass safely through these dark woods into a glittering future.

`Rushlight' takes its title and its bearings from Ezra Pound (`a little light like rushlight to lead us back to splendor'), mixing economics and blah blah as it swoops low over a country devastated by Thatcherism:

& the remaining land
plotted on maps
landowners of their estates
into their mouths
completely strips them
a passing cloud
of dead weight riches
compass a stabbing gesture of north
and south divided

The book abruptly switches to italics a third of the way in, as though the remainder is all one quoted ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image