NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
JULIA COPUS: IN DEFENCE OF ADULTERY
Bloodaxe Books
Highgreen
Tarset
Northumberland
NE48 1RP
UK
ISBN 1 85224 607 3
7.95

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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
JULIA COPUS: IN DEFENCE OF ADULTERY

There are many good things to say about IN DEFENCE OF ADULTERY, the second poetry collection by Julia Copus. Like her first, THE SHUTTERED EYE, this one is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

Despite its rather lurid title, IN DEFENCE OF ADULTERY isn't very erotic or provocative. But much of it deals with love and personal relationships. Partly because of images culled from science, Copus succeeds in avoiding the banal and predictable. She explains her literary ideals in a poem aptly named ESSENCE:

	I want the epigram, not the epic,
	the Guiding Principles, the Rule of Three,
	the shift of continents and rise of nations
	summed up in an inky paragraph.
Elsewhere, love is, by an oxymoron, characterized as
	wounding us, making us whole.
And in LOVE SCENE, Copus shows that she can be as precise ("tachycardia" is mentioned) as Sappho when describing the effects of desire. The title poem presents a startling simile: love is seen as spilt tea gradually rising in a lump of sugar.

Imagery is clearly Copus's strength, and she has also developed a fairly relaxed, flexible, almost free lyrical diction that may border on, or turn into, blank verse, or iambic pentameter with slant rhymes and the occasional true rhyme.

Some pieces here have a rough feel, as if they were not, or not yet, quite polished and finished. And it seems to me that Copus is sometimes a little too eager to draw our attention to the (latent) meanings of metaphors and symbols in her work.

In addition, I'd like to point out that reindeer may in fact make a noise

	like the sound of cracking nuts
when walking or running this is no mere superstition, as Copus appears to think. Also, yes, it should be "reindeer", rather than "reindeers"! Lachesis, one of the Greek goddesses of fate, has normally a distaff, not a loom.

These are small matters, though, and I want to emphasize that Julia Copus is basically an interesting and original writer. And her lyrical gift including a certain odd, disturbing slant which I personally rather like will no doubt mature before long.

reviewer: Susanna Roxman.