NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
CHRIS JONES: HARD ON THE KNUCKLE
Smith/Doorstop Books
The Poetry Business
Bank Street Arts
32-40 Bank Street
Sheffield
S1 2DS
UK
ISBN 1 902382 52 8
3

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CHRIS JONES: HARD ON THE KNUCKLE

A neat little booklet consisting of two main sequences and a couple of concluding poems. COUNTRY BY CAR does what it says on the tin and takes us on a journey by way of a five-part sonnet (mainly) sequence this from GALWAY:

	Leaving Galway we drove out west
	on roads like little twisters for the tongue,
	stalling at junctions where we had to guess,
	until, inevitably, I guessed wrong 
	stopped dead, in rain, at the end of Europe.
HARD ON THE KNUCKLE derives from the author's time as writer-in-residence at Nottingham Prison from 1997 to 1999. The "prison diary" is becoming a sub-genre of its own. Ken Smith's excellent WORMWOOD and INSIDE TIME spring to mind as examples. In a series of sonnets, quatrains, couplets and octaves, Chris Jones looks at life inside from the perspective of both the prisoner and the outsider this from NAME:
	From their windows men sing out numbers, names,
	hands to the grille light for the come-back call,
	but words get lost, change allegiance, and blame's
	out of their mouths, love's over the wall.
Two unrelated poems, WORK and THE WASP TRAP finish off the collection. The whole is well-executed and augers well for the future one to watch.

reviewer: John Francis Haines.