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This review is taken from PN Review 235, Volume 43 Number 5, May - June 2017.

Cover of Providence Farm
Alison BrackenburyThere is a Tide Roisin Kelly, Rapture (Southword) €7;
Martha Sprackland, Glass as Broken Glass (Rack Press) £5.00;
Paul McMahon, Bourdon (Southword) €7;
Kathryn Gray, Flowers (Rack Press) £5.00;
Sam Meekings, The Other Shore (Eyewear) £5.00;
Samuel Tongue, Hauling-Out (Eyewear) £5.00;
Roxy Dunn, Clowning (Eyewear) £5.00;
L.M. Dearlove, Providence Farm (The Garlic Press) £5.00;
Philip Hancock, Just Help Yourself (Smiths Knoll) £5.00;
Theophilus Kwek, The First Five Storms (smith/doorstop) £5.00

The great spring tides can threaten Britain’s open East coast and the rocky West. On the miniature shores of reviewers, the tide foams with pamphlets…

Rapture, Roisin Kelly’s first pamphlet, brings exuberant colour: ‘June comes to the sky above Leitrim / and Mars is as red as a rose’. Her writing is eagerly physical. Love ‘can be […] like biting into fruit / below the sun, into the juice and pulp of it’. Words addressed to the smallest souvenir ring with tenderness: ‘Little matchbox’… Kelly’s lines carry passionate echoes of liturgy: ‘With your blue sweater, my body worships you’. With ecstatically long vowels and singing sound, these poems are a feast.

Even loss, in Rapture, is transfigured to a constellation: ‘My ex-boyfriend turned lonely Orion’. The poems’ boldness of statement grows almost proverbial: ‘the breakfast table / of love has wrecked many ships’. This brief collection shows remarkable emotional range. Kelly leaves the reader afloat on a tide of colour, her ‘comet’s tail of old ice and stardust / on its way to the red heat of its marriage bed’.

¶ The first poem of Martha Sprackland’s first pamphlet, Glass as Broken Glass, describes a smashed snail. But it ends with a naked outpouring of feeling:


as the heart does
when the last thing to happen to it
is everything, is all it knows.


‘Seven years’ love’ makes its own exquisite music of mourning:


Yarrow or arrowroot, visited by the mallow-moth
...


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