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This review is taken from PN Review 117, Volume 24 Number 1, September - October 1997.

RAIN DANCER SARAH MAGUIRE, The Invisible Mender (Cape Poetry) £7.00

Sarah Maguire loves the rain; at least, the background to several of her poems is a rainy day. 'Tidemarks' begins: 'The seaside out of season: it's pissing down.' - and ends: '... then walk on in the rain.' Between those two lines, like a curtain rising and falling, a life story is evoked. 'Heavenly Body' states: 'Since St Swithin's Day//it's pelted down. ...' Rain on windows recurs in 'Psoriasis', where: 'It has rained all afternoon,/ the light fretting of water on glass'; while in the title poem, 'The Invisible Mender (My First Mother)', the poet, sewing and musing on her unknown mother, sits by a window which is: 'a mirror to the rain outside'; and 'The Instrument Repairer', mends his broken saxophone while: 'For two days/rain stipples the window'. 'Watershed', based on the poet's three years as a gardener, dealing with (among other things) summer drought, closes: 'Next day/the floods came down.'

'The Invisible Mender' is organised into four sections which spiral inwards from the first group - set in many landscapes and including a wide variety of characters, towards the final and most overtly personal. The opening poem of the volume, 'Travelling Northward', serves as a fine example of the poet's skill with language, control of texture and colour, and emotional depth of subject matter. I particularly enjoy the sound of these poems, their tune and rhythm. Sarah Maguire knows about runon and closure, where a line should end and exactly how long it should be. ...


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