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This review is taken from PN Review 167, Volume 32 Number 3, January - February 2006.

LOOKING IN LOVE ANNE STEVENSON, Poems 1955-2005 (Bloodaxe) £12.00 pb/ £25 hb

Here, in some 400 tall pages, is gathered half a century of intense looking, feeling, thinking and transforming. Linear time has been ignored, though we are given the bibliographical means to relay its shining, deceptive track if we are inclined. Instead we have a blocked-out thematic tapestry in which huge shapes interlock, overlap and dovetail; the poems, like the components of that glittering mechanism in 'Washing the Clocks', lie on the pages 'making up time by themselves, / rinsing the mesh of their wheels in mysterious oil', as the book moves musically from its Prologue through its eight major sections - physical geographies in The Way You Say the World, the human story in Seven Ages, artistic creation in The Art of Making - to its closing section, In Memoriam. We now have a new way of looking at this huge, wayward voyage, the exasperated and loving explorations of a sensibility formed by the American academe of her childhood and youth and a deep ambivalent love of the England Anne Stevenson has lived and worked in for most of her life. Her sensibility is drawn particularly to the eastern flatlands and those airs of 'dampness and learning' she finds so inescapable when 'temporarily in Oxford' or the scarified, declining industrial landscapes of the north, where lives are perched between the fierce thrust of the working past, the slow, vacuous decline, the impossible future:

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