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This review is taken from PN Review 205, Volume 38 Number 5, May - June 2012.

Plain Speaking MICHAEL GLOVER, Only So Much (Savage Poets Collective) £9.95
JOHN LUCAS, Things to Say (Five Leaves) £7.99
ROBERT NYE, The Rain and the Glass: 99 Poems, New and Selected (Greenwich Exchange) £6.99

A poem is 'an adaptation of experience', or so said Bernard O'Donoghue. Michael Glover's certainly tend to be.Only So Much contains poems of naïve simplicity reclining flatly (often using anaphora to heighten the rhetorical effect) over cavernous subtexts, of commonplace experience filtered through surreal imaginings. Consider this, from 'The Final Decision':

Send me the house where you live,
Your liveliest conversations,
The spoons you bought for best,
Your moments of greatest sadness.

I will take care of it all.
I will box it away in the cupboard.
It will never be spoken of.
No one will even look.
Least of all myself.

Glover is a poet of the emotions, but he is also at times a storyteller, almost a magic realist poet, and the tales his idiosyncratic poems tell are often as poignant as they are strange. He can be wry, but he's not much of a joker. A recurrent theme is loss - or, more specifically, a wistful realisation of what was, as when he meditates: 'That was the best of times. I see it now. / Yet nothing happened then to make it so'. We might be reminded, perhaps too much, of Hardy's 'The Self-Unseeing': 'Every­thing glowed with a gleam; / Yet we were looking away'. Different anxieties are at the heart of the six inventive ekphrases (one in prose) after works by Italian metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico. 'The Enigma of ...


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