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This review is taken from PN Review 84, Volume 18 Number 4, March - April 1992.

BALANCE Fleur Adcock, Selected Poems (OUP) £6.99
Fleur Adcock, Time Zones (OUP) £5.99

The convergence of various spheres of existence, of past and present, time and space, dream and waking, self and other, and a resulting sense of dislocation have dominated Fleur Adcock's poetry for twenty-five years. It is a credit to her inventive use of detail and the flexibility of her poetic voice that, despite an unevenness of quality, her variations on these themes have not grown tedious.

Time Zones, Adcock's latest collection, is her most sophisticated examination of these convergences yet. As intimated by the title, the convergences in most of the poems are temporal. In 'My Father,' for example, past, present, and future blend seamlessly as the poet remembers learning of her father's death when she was on a trip to Manchester, where he had spent his childhood before emigrating to New Zealand. Faced with his absence and the presence of his past, she is unable to accept the loss. And, in order to recover him she decides to go search for signs of her ancestors.
 
I'll go to look for where they were born
   and bred.
 I'll go next month; we'll both go, I and
   my sister.
We'll tell him about it, when he stops
   being dead.


In 'Cattle in the Mist' a postcard from her father's childhood prompts her to recreate his early years in New Zealand and the life of poverty he narrowly escaped.

The temporal convergences in Adcock's work ...


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