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This review is taken from PN Review 29, Volume 9 Number 3, January - February 1983.

DON'T LIE TO THOSE PEOPLE WITHIN YOU David Sutton, Absences and Celebrations (Chatto) £3.95
J. P. Ward, To Get Clear (Poetry Wales Press) £2.95
Anthony Cronin, 41 Sonnet Poems (Raven Arts, Dublin) n.p.
Thomas McCarthy, The Sorrow Garden (Anvil) £3.25
Emyr Humphreys, Miscellany Two (Poetry Wales Press) £2.50
James Sutherland-Smith, Naming of the Arrow (Salamander Imprint) £3.50
Ken Smith, Burned Books (Bloodaxe) £3.00

There's an Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman; a Welshman and another Englishman; an Englishman who lives in Wales, and another Irishman; and they all write poems. It's an example of what a sub-editor might call The Endless Tapestry of English-Speaking Poetry. These seven books are well produced and well written. One or two of them are very good.

David Sutton 'was born in Chiltern country', and in one of the half-celebratory poems in his book he writes lyrically of the area's 'Green folded countryside of copse and farm.' In a completely celebratory poem, 'Taxonomical Note', about marbles, he writes with gusto of 'Silvers, clears,/Coca Colas, Bottle washers, genies'. Some of the poems of Absence, such as the one about his father, are also moving: 'I want for you all the chances that were never yours', as are the poems about abortion and charity appeals. When Sutton is overtly personal, he is quite profound, but when he tries to widen the area of his subject-matter, as in 'Estate': 'And here will come the TV aerials/Cars in the driveway, numbers on the gates', there's just too much Larkin about.

J. P. Ward, on the other hand, is resolutely his own man. He is so much his own man that sometimes he excludes the reader, however. Sharp observation and splendid images ('An empty lorry bumped by like a badly-dressed fat man' is just right in context) are sometimes spoiled, not only by a certain monotony of rhythm, ...


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