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This review is taken from PN Review 10, Volume 6 Number 2, November - December 1979.

REAL PLACES WITH REAL PEOPLIN THEM Norman Nicholson, The Shadow of Black Combe, (Mid Northumberland Arts Group, Ashington) £1.50

Norman Nicholson has a place of honour among those who have somehow lived under the skin of the monstrous pseudo-culture of our century, demonstrating in his own works that there are still real places, with real people in them, in spite of the blaring lies of politicians and broadcasters. Millom in Cumberland is where he has lived and what he has celebrated, and this pleasingly produced little volume is a solid addition to his work. Quiet, vivid and sober, these poems show us the boy of fifteen leaning on the handlebars and looking into the dazzle over the sea to the west and the grown man hoping this (without the bicycle perhaps) will also be his end. They recall that his father saw Haley's comet, four years before Norman was born, and look forward to his seeing it himself, watery in the eyes, at the age of seventy-two, in 1986. May he celebrate that occasion too! Best of all, to my mind-but others might choose differently among this wealth of fourteen poems-is "Comprehending It Not", which recalls December, 1921, when a cracked gas-main in Millom gave Christmas a new splendour. This book should be bought.
C. H. Sisson

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