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Monthly Carcanet Books

This review is taken from PN Review 178, Volume 34 Number 2, November - December 2007.

RICHARD PRICE, Greenfields (Carcanet) £9.95

Fiona Sampson's background - pioneering work with poetry and health care, championing East European poetry, and working as a musician - inform and shape her new collection. Language and care, and a care for and attention to language are at the heart of Common Prayer: 'There's such a thing as care, there is...' How we care for language becomes synonymous with how we care for one another, particularly the dying. It is also a collection about journeys, displacements, losses, margins, edges, exterminations; this from a key poem in the collection, 'The Plunge': 'among clicks and whirrs of language/your voice comes and goes...'. And, 'Is this our destination?/It's called a journey'. And,

We're going to the very edge,
to the darkness
where windows float their little boats.

Your illness is a kind of pact;
to bear it
is to bear even death
in this name - love.

 Or this, from 'The Archive', where the book shifts its focus to history, to Eastern Europe, to Poland, which tells the story of three boys displaced then separated by the German and Russian invasions of 1939:

But Nix can't swim
Boys, I -

Where did he go?


I imagine him sometimes:
An old man with his tea tray,
Somewhere in Russia.

Common ...

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