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This review is taken from PN Review 207, Volume 39 Number 1, September - October 2012.

Journeys kate potts, Pure Hustle (Bloodaxe Books) £8.95
eva bourke, Piano Dedalus Press) £10.99

Pure Hustle, Kate Potts's first book-length collection from Bloodaxe, is an engrossing debut. The images she deploys, in various forms, come thick and fast, and take the reader to a place where the distinction between reality and metaphor is blurred. Her Heaneyesque use of hyphens, for example, allows the images to be delivered more swiftly and at times more abruptly than they would otherwise arrive. The 'fear-brittled, steel or stone' of 'The Boundary Camp', or the 'sleep-sunk, truffle velvet' of 'Slow Season', for example, engage the reader in an act of imagining several scenes at once, and give an unmistakable stream-of-consciousness quality to the poet's voice.

However, the poems that stick are the more subtle, slower paced ones. 'Cloth Trick', for example, which portrays the act of weaving with a loom, suggests an intensely focused character poised in a snapshot of mundane process. The language is full of life, dancing within a single image rather than moving on to the next and over-complicating it. 'Greyhound to Syracuse', too, focuses on a single character inside a bus, not what it wants to look at - the changing landscape outside the window. Here, the result is a human, personal engagement between writer and reader. The flurry of images at the poet's disposal are, in the end, much more effective when the pace slows and focuses for just a moment.


Eva Bourke's Piano from Dedalus Press is her first full-length collection since The Latitude of Naples (2005). ...


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