This debut collection showcases a startling new talent. Originally from Northern Ireland, now based in England, Carolyn Jess-Cooke has a sophisticated poetic intelligence as well as a great sense of fun. The opening piece, 'Accent' where 'stowaway inflections and locally-produced slang/have passports of their own' is a praise poem for the versatility and joy of language, The way sound chases itself in tunnels and halls, the way senses fold memory...A". This verbal fluency and dexterity are employed to offer us poems that are multifaceted and often paradoxical. 'Aeneas Finds Dido on YouTube'is part satire, part tender re-enactment of the myth, featuring the most up-to-date media platforms. After this playful start, a difficult childhood is evoked through metaphor in poems like 'Music Lesson','One Thousand Painful Pieces'and 'Bitten', all the more heartbreaking for being indirect. This pain contrasts with the redemption that mature love brings, that 'watches memories burn'in poems like 'Pure' and 'Lip Service' and 'First Time Buyer' that are marvellously 'aslant' poems of passionate attachment. 'Belmopan, Belize' shifts into realism, giving us a chillingly accurate account of a car accident. In other 'travel' poems like 'Jet Lag' and 'Tourists' the restlessness and vertigo of travel mirror an existential state. The two set in Japan, 'Reading Mt. Fuji's Diaries' and 'Waterfall at Lake Chuzenji, Japan', are curious and haunting narratives, suggestive of multiple meanings. Other high points are 'Newborn' with the apt description of a babe in arms being a 'zoo of verbs/mewling, snuffling, pecking...'. This sweet realism again gives way to metaphor, in the strangely evocative 'Dorothy's Homecoming' in a brilliant take on the classic film 'Wizard of Oz', the power of maternal love has turned into a 'twister' all encompassing and 'terrified by her loss'. Any exhausted new mother will also recognise the surreal musings in the saga 'Asda, Ten Days Post-Partum'. Readers will enjoy this striking and versatile new voice.
|Publication date:||22nd January 2010|
|Publisher:||Seren an imprint of Poetry Wales Press|
Poetry by individual poets