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This review is taken from PN Review 91, Volume 19 Number 5, May - June 1993.

RE-ENCHANTMENTS Adrian Harding, Transparencies and Dusk Around Fire (Dashwood Press, 4 Mozart Street, London Wl0 4ZA) £7 and £5 respectively.

This is a vieille histoire - a young man falls in love in Paris; but sometimes, as here, it comes to us fresh and astonished - the experience of Werther that refuses quite to die, despite our post-Freudian armature. Subjective delusion, narcissism, projection;. not to mention language and its problems … Adrian Harding is properly versed in these things, or at least on. nodding terms with them, as he will often wittily remind us, but luckily the powerful feelings - if we can risk such a phrase, and I think we can - mostly explode such scrupling, just as love explodes the known world to reform it in a new configuration, clustered around (Werther again) 'the form of a beloved mistress'. The experience also explodes, for the most part, the deliberate strategies of semantic obliquity, and an over-fluent conceptual faculty - the characteristic defects of Harding's longer poems - to liberate a lyric gift, shown here in brief and often brilliant fragments.

His own ingenuous amazement is recorded:
      

the plastic word
shines under
delirious and calm
sequences of
 what seems to be
love


What 'narrative' there is, in this collection of short poems, interspersed by longer meditations, is the classic evolution, the sensual ecstasy rapidly clouded by doubt and jealousy and dissatisfaction; and in between a good deal of longing in absentia, the lover caressing his own desire -
      
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