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This review is taken from PN Review 15, Volume 7 Number 1, September - October 1980.

THEATRE OF FEELING Peter Redgrove, The Weddings at Nether Power and Other New Poems (Routledge & Kegan Paul) £2.95

Peter Redgrove's latest collection, a Poetry Book Society Choice, contains no less than 151 poems: this, together with his reputation for obscurity, might seem sufficient to daunt the intending reader. He should not be daunted. There is obscurity sometimes, and the occasional poem which chokes on too heavy a diet of images and associations-but this is a small price to pay for a large number of remarkable successes, and most of the poems are perfectly accessible. Mr. Redgrove's mind is not only intense but wide-ranging-he is particularly good on animals and insects; equally good on basic elements such as wood, water and stone; and can write forcefully about God, death, sex, the weather, the stars, witches or museum objects. For all this, the book is held together powerfully, partly by the obsessiveness with which a number of images recur, and partly by a dramatizing principle which is seen to inform every corner of existence, as it does here the world of television: 'Above any object at all a small red light may go on,/ And you are on-camera, the Producer is watching.' On one hand this makes of God a figure not unlike the one R. S. Thomas portrayed in Frequencies-in one poem here 'you can hear/God's voice of creation when you vibrate the equations': while death becomes one scene in a process which goes beyond the Shakespearean concept of the world as stage-'You take turns to be food', as another poem nicely puts it. This does not prevent ...


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