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This review is taken from PN Review 116, Volume 23 Number 6, July - August 1997.

THE WRITE DESIGN CLUB STEPHEN KNIGHT, Dream City Cinema (Bloodaxe) £6.95
PAULA MEEHAN, Mysteries of the Home (Bloodaxe) £7.95
MAURA DOOLEY, Kissing a Bone (Bloodaxe) £6.95
MATTHEW FRANCIS, Blizzard (Faber) £6.99

Dream City Cinema is a wide-ranging and ambitious collection. Stephen Knight moves through the prosaic detritus of everyday life with a sure eye and line -without straining for effect, he lends his subjects a fresh perspective; and there is an informed, classical poise to his work. He is at his best when using traditional forms. His villanelle 'The Desert Inn', is wonderfully inventive: the refrain form enacts and re-enacts the relentless progress of desert sand. Notice the aposiopesis In the final quatrain:

My waist, my chest, my neck, my jaw
And mouth succumb to sand, its
Sand is at the door…
I raise both hands to hold it back before

Poems on fatherhood, 'Daedalus' and 'The Cinemas my Father Knew', are equally impressive: in 'Daedalus', for example, the struck-through And('And nothing's cut to size') is mimetically ingenious. More importantly, Knight is not only witty - 'Surf Motel' shows this in abundance - but moving: In 'The Cinemas my Father Knew' there is a sensitivity piquantly conveyed by the use of delayed rhyming effects.

Where Knight is less than brilliant is in the collage type of poems, mostly in the central 'McAuliffe, Breath, Dream City Cinema & Leaves' section of the book; these, by comparison, seem largely flat.

However, such strictures are small compared with the richness to be found in the bulk of this collection.

The opening poem of ...

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