NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
BRIAN BLACKWELL: CHERNOBYL'S CLOUD
Fighting Cock Press
45 Middlethorpe Drive
York
YO24 1NA
UK
ISBN 0 906744 16 4
£2.50

BRIAN BLACKWELL: THE SHIMMER OF LIFE
Q Q Press
York House
15 Argyle Terrace
Rothesay
Isle of Bute
PA20 0BD
UK
ISBN 1 903203 46 5
£3.50
available from the author at
65 Austhorpe Road
Crossgates
Leeds
LS15 8EQ

Visit the website of Fighting Cock Press Read details of the author's collection THE SMILE OF LIES

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BRIAN BLACKWELL: CHERNOBYL'S CLOUD

Fighting Cock were awarded a National Lottery Grant to fund their chapbook series. Judging from Blackwell's collection the money has been well spent. Certainly it's a well produced volume. The author is a lecturer who has been visiting Belarus for eight years and has been moved to commit his experiences and impressions of the place to paper. The result is a collection of accessible and, occassionally, moving poems. Here and there the writing is perhaps a little too literal. The poem JUST†A†FUR†HAT, for example, ends

	Some survive with just
	a fur hat. The bulk just freeze.
He can be more figurative and interesting, however, as in DECIPHERING. The latter begins,
	Snow here must be deadened
	by distant memories.
and ends,
	The flakes are the words
	of distress. They need deciphering.
A worthwhile collection which I enjoyed reading.

reviewer: Paul McDonald
BRIAN BLACKWELL: THE SHIMMER OF LIFE

This is a selection of poems from many years observing nature and wild life in the Seychelles, Australian deserts and in what Blackwell calls 'the intrigues' of his only garden. The poems are well crafted,and observant of details and habits. Subjects include wagtails, waterfowls, swans, woodpeckers, chestnuts,crows, the grey squirrel, ginkgo, poppies, snowdrops, the platypus, the orynx, hedgehogs and snails.

The poetry is realistic and does not indulge in metaphysical asides, and the more successful work seems to be made up of a mixture of detail enhanced by the poet's sense experiences and thoughts on the subjects. For example, from JACKDAW:

				... Your
	elegant bill, with its jack-knife blade.
	is not new to cutting tricks;
	you're a charming little jack-o-napes!
and from THE YEAR OF THE SNAIL:
	Holes appear in leaves, in petals.
	Buds disappear. Coming home late:
	crunching sounds. The moon lights up
	their silvery meanderings.
I enjoyed the 48pp book,which has an attractive cover embellished with drawings of snail, holly, beetle, bird, fox, and dragon-fly and recommend it to those who like traditional nature poetry.

reviewer: Eric Ratcliffe.