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This review is taken from PN Review 19, Volume 7 Number 5, May - June 1981.

LOST AND FOUND Vicki Hearne, Nervous Horses (University of Texas Press) n.p.
Anthony Thwaite, Victorian Voices (Oxford) £3.95
Steve Griffiths, Anglesey Material (Rex Collings) £4.50
Eddie Linden, City of Razors (Jay Landesman Ltd.) £2.50
Chris Searle, Red Earth (Journeyman Press) £1.95

At first glance, a book of horse poems by a Californian horse-breaker looks unpromising, so it is refreshing to find in Vicki Hearne a highly original talent at work. She is much more than an animal poet ('The horse', she writes, 'is not enough'). Her horses are more symbolic than real, more D. H. Lawrence than Anna Sewell; they inhabit an eerie landscape of the mind, and are


. . . dangerous
Maddened by the fumes
From sour pools of wines
And loves spilled in
Mythological mornings


Hearne is a mystical poet, her horses mere guides on the quest for spiritual self-discovery. This quest she conducts through a poetry which is violent and complex, a dense jungle of imagery which produces 'Wind and horse and idea/Wrenched and flaming. Syllables/Like fire.' Elliptical, and anxious in their rhythms, many of the poems in this collection answer to T. S. Eliot's description of poetry as 'the nerves in patterns on a screen'. But Hearne's highly personal brand of writing rarely becomes obscure; instead, it strikes one as a highly original achievement from a poet whom one wishes were better known in this country.

Also original, and from a poet who is well-known, is Anthony Thwaite's new volume, Victorian Voices: fourteen monologues spoken by fourteen lesser-known Victorians, ranging from an Oxford don to a London beggar, from Peacock's daughter to Edmund Gosse's father, and taking in on the way ...


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