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This review is taken from PN Review 25, Volume 8 Number 5, May - June 1982.

SURFACED CALM: CHAPBOOKS AND PAMPHLETS Wyatt Prunty, Domestic of the Outer Bank (Inland Boat/Porch Publications) n.p.
John Cassidy, The Fountain and Changes of Light (Bloodaxe Books) 70p each
Alasdair Paterson, Terra Nova (Interim Press) 60p
Harry Guest, Elegies (Pig Press) 80p
Mary Stella Edwards, Before and After (Enitharmon) £1.95
Lottie Kramer, Ice-Break (Annakinn) £2.25
Lottie Kramer, Family Arrivals (Poet and Printer) 90p
Jerzy Ficowski, A Reading of Ashes, translated by Keith Bosley and Krystyna Wandycz (Menard) £2.40
Eino Leino, Whitsongs, translated by Keith Bosley (Menard) £1.95
Christa Reinig, The Tight-Rope Walker, translated by Ruth and Matthew Mead (Satis) 75p

The first poem in Wyatt Prunty's chapbook Domestic of the Outer Bank is about fishing,

A quiet man fixing his sight
Over a surfaced calm and something else
Below that calm violently lost . . .

which is clearly offered as, among other things, a metaphor for the creative process. But the trope is not too slickly applied- 'each catch proves more/Than we can surface'-and Mr Prunty's true concern is with the ones that get away, both with the commotion and confusion that a well-made poem's surface belies and with those areas of experience which remain elusive to the conscious mind-most notably death. Four of the nine poems here included are directly concerned with death (and usually untimely death) and others hint at the same preoccupation. Mr Prunty's imagery is largely drawn from water-a reservoir, rivers, the ocean-which is seen both as an alien enveloping element, an emblem of the way experience remains unavoidably foreign to the mind, and as a calm tantalising surface, a reflecting sheen that masks darkness and violence; the two focuses of attention are brought together in what is perhaps the best poem in the booklet, 'Letter', which is about a boy drowned on a fishing trip. The language is both clean and meditative-neither self-obsessed nor inhumanly sanitised. This is an impressive publication in which intelligence and the brute facts of existence are held in wary intimacy, neither being allowed to suffocate the other.

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