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This review is taken from PN Review 54, Volume 13 Number 4, March - April 1987.

SOMEONE WAS HERE Robert Minhinnick, The Dinosaur Park (Poetry Wales Press) £3.50
Tim Dooley, The Interrupted Dream (Anvil Press) £4.50
Jonathan Price, Everything Must Go (Secker & Warburg) £5.95

Robert Minhinnick (despite a biographical note which has him ten years older) is in his early thirties and The Dinosaur Park is his fourth book of poems. By Larkinesque rates of production this is the stuff of prodigy if not of recklessness; but Minhinnick's is an interesting case. In 1980, along with Medbh McGuckian, Blake Morrison and Michael Hulse, he was the recipient of a major Gregory award, since which time his three joint-winners have been taken up by large publishing houses. Minhinnick, meanwhile, has remained loyal to Cary Archard, first at Christopher Davies and later at Poetry Wales Press (which has published an impressive number of books on what one imagines is a shoestring budget). What makes this the more unusual is the high praise with which his collections have been received.

Anne Stevenson, reviewing Life Sentences (1983), wondered, however, 'if what he has to say has been worth the effort of saying it so well'. Which suggests a lightweight poetry, but might point rather to an insularity, for the poet's loyalty to Wales - or should one say to his native ground - extends to the poems themselves which tend resolutely to stay there too. But his themes are not slight and The Dinosaur Park renews acquaintance with many that recur. Here again, as in the 'Dawn: Cwrt-y-felin' of his first collection: 'Two currents merge; my unbelief, /My violent need to praise'.

The new poems are peopled with endurance, small gains and separateness. ...


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