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This review is taken from PN Review 162, Volume 31 Number 4, March - April 2005.

FOUR CORNERS OF EARTH DAVID H.W. GRUBB, The Elephant in the Room (Driftwood) £9.00
FRANCES WILSON, Rearranging the Sky (Rockingham) £7.95
ROBIN FORD, Never Quite Prepared for Light (Arrowhead) £7.50
J.G. NICHOLS, The Paradise Construction Company (Herla) £8.99

The keenness of David Grubb's ear for earthly distress sounds in his deft first poem, 'Falling Words', from Iris Murdoch: 'I think I am in a very bad quiet.' Grubb's poems are energetic, restless and unsettling. Trapping raw pain, they leap into myth and dream. 'The Birds of Kosovo' begins with the facts of one family's flight

whilst the soldiers shot up the chickens and the dog
and raped the blind daughter tied to the gate.

It focuses, hauntingly, on other survivors. To these, even the birds seem changed:

Were their calls human voices?
Would they soon fly down to give them news?

Grubb's technique, Protean and prolific, shifts from colloquial jokes to lines broken as Anglo-Saxon, condensed and lilting.

Telling what cannot. Listening for missing.
Voice never. Light in the leaf.
                                ('Creative Writing Course')

Grubb displays power and range. What is missing? Terrible facts held in the dance of rhythm; time's blend of several possible subjects into one completely memorable poem. In Grubb's words, ('The Poet at a Glance'), 'This poem has not been written yet.'

Frances Wilson is a poet of corners and of oddly precise colours, with an imagination both instinctive and lovely. Her exact compassion, redeeming the tabloids' abuse of 'anoraks', catches, in her net of colour and consonants, a disruptive 'Boy on a Bicycle', absorbed in his passion for fishing. ...


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