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This review is taken from PN Review 30, Volume 9 Number 4, March - April 1983.

IN RETREAT: PAMPHLETS AND CHAPBOOKS Jenny King, Letting the Dark Through; K. W. Gransden, The Last Picnic; John Gohorry, The Coast of Bohemia; Neil Curry, Between Root and Sky; M. V. B. Riviere, Late in the Day (all obtainable from Mandeville Press, 2 Taylor's Hill, Hitchin, Herts SG4 9AD at 50p plus 20p postage and packing)
Penelope Palmer, The Lamp (Agenda Editions) £2.40
Sue Lenier, Swansongs (Oleander Press) £4.00
David Jones, The Narrows (Interim Press, 3 Thornton Close, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 6PJ) £1.00

Jenny King has a line in her Mandeville pamphlet, Letting the Dark Through, which seems momentarily to sum up the Mandeville ethos-'This perfect quiet retreat, genteelly weathered'. It is true that she qualifies the perception later in the poem, and it is also true that Mandeville poets have more to them than privacy and gentillity-yet that sense of history arriving at a backwater of alert but guarded sensibility does convey much of the charm of Mandeville's publications-and, yes, something of their fastidious aversion of the eyes from a great deal of the twentieth century. Jenny King's poems are domestic in theme and unemphatic in their language. They are precisely caring, and aim not at greatness but at a quiet decency which is evidenced as much in their diction as in the incidents and perceptions they recount. The most striking poem is 'By the River'; this is the last stanza:


The middle country, neither domesticatede
Nor wild: since the first people
We have lived mostly like this,
Walking quietly along, sometimes uplifted,
Following the river's bends without passion.


K. W. Gransden's The Last Picnic is very uneven in quality; the title poem works well as do most of those that use rural settings. He too looks for the 'perfect quiet retreat' as in 'Rain' ('Almost contented,/Settle to the long day's siege,/Coffee, Schubert, your kind of weather,/Just as they forecast') and in 'Lanercost' which is about the disastrous visit ...


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