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This review is taken from PN Review 176, Volume 33 Number 6, July - August 2007.

FATE AND CHANCE SASHA DUGDALE, The Estate (Oxford Poets/Carcanet) £8.95

In 2003 Sasha Dugdale produced a debut collection, Notebook, inspired by her time in Russia and by the notebook of J.M.W. Turner. It opened with 'Wide Glass Sky', in the course of which the poet avows

This is not mine, this world
These feelings have been stolen
From the unfeeling


It is neither 'theft', nor the admission of it, that is central to our sense of Sasha Dugdale's poetry, but her generally successful attempt to make us believe that through her identification with others, it is her world, her feelings we are addressing. Her poems also mythologise the everyday, where vulnerability and solitude are mankind's 'estate' - and war often its context.

Her second book, The Estate, is thematically linked by the twin notions of fate and chance. The title sequence is inspired by a legend of Pushkin. It opens with a hare offering the poet a sign which saves him from the fate of his friends, the Decembrists. The poem dwells on his mythical force and - via the legend of the footstool of his lover, Anna Kern - on the myths we create for ourselves, 'Points like this in everyone's life./Metaphorical hares'.

There are a number of women in The Estate, who are left dis-satisfied with their emotional lives, as in 'The Casting', where the intense desire for domestic intimacy is met with disappointment, as, 'He ...


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