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This review is taken from PN Review 11, Volume 6 Number 3, January - February 1980.

IDENTIFIABLE VOICES Peter Walton, Out of Season (North-West Arts Publication Award in association with Carcanet ) £1.75
Taner Baybars, Narcissus in a Dry Pool (Sidgwick & Jackson) £3.50, paperback £1.00
Jon Silkin, Flower Poems (Northern House Poets) 65p.
Richard Kell, Heartwood (Northern House Poets) 65p.
Rodney Pybus, At the Stone Junction (Northern House Poets) 60p.
Paul Hyland, Riddles for Jack (Northern House Poets) 65p.

Peter Walton's poems are the self-examinations of a serious, reflective and modest man. They have the poised seriousness of a mind and conscience prepared for the act of prayer. In this they resemble George Herbert's. And in that many of them find things to celebrate in the natural world (especially weeds and birds), they resemble Edward Thomas's. I am not pointing to influences but to a sustaining kinship.

In a life generally characterized by tensions, troubles, disturbances, pain, noise, Peter Walton is grateful for small mercies, for oases of calm, in order to restore his faith that life is "the one and endless miracle". This faith is precarious-the world, "subject to the turning of a key", can simply be reduced to an absurdity and perhaps the most one can hope for is to make "peace with one day" and be grateful for whatever "random sanctifyings" have come his way.

These "random sanctifyings" are what most of Walton's poems are about: the poet catches sight of or experiences something that imprints itself on the memory and, coming gratuitously, gives him a clue to deeper, more permanent values. In "Today" a smell of drying earth "came as unexpectedly as joy/Itself" to represent to the poet "One of the things, if any, which will bring us through". In "Rhythms", "unnerved by sleep" and by the suburban domestic day getting underway, he sees two herons "ponder overhead" and his balance is restored. In "Impatience" the something that "catches the ...


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