An independent small press poetry review

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Ragged Raven Press
1 Lodge Farm
Stratford upon Avon
CV37 0LR
ISBN 0 9542397 6 8
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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.

There is much good poetry in Jane Kinninmont's first collection, the style and rhythms of some poems seem to lend themselves naturally to performance poetry. There is also a good sprinkling of personal poems. So many poems are refreshingly full of youth and vitality, often highly imaginative and great fun to read, but there are also some impressive more serious pieces.

Jane Kinninmont's poetry is often strong in imagery, describing buying breakfast for her lover in SWEETHEART she gazes at:

	all the fortune-wheel of life
	for one half-awake and inclined to fairy tale.
	Simple sweet desires, spelt out in sugar.
	The bakery bursting with melt-in-your-mouth metaphor,
	Romanced with almonds, drenched with honey.
The book's title comes from the poem BEDTIME STORY, another romantic poem I also like. This contains some good images and is written in couplets. It describes the poet's feelings when she thinks of her lover sleeping:
	and I can cross any distance in no time at all
	striding continents in love's seven league stilettos.

	The miles between us crumble, embarrassed.
	Shamed into submission, they step discreetly aside.


	I slip like moonlight through the crack in your window,
	Steal under your door on the back of a spider.

	I cut through your walls with the edge of a whisper,
	And I come to you.
But by no means are all the poems personal ones. In TO BRING IT HOME TO YOU the poet contrasts the homecoming on leave of her granddad early on in the war, a homecoming marked by high spirits and optimism, with his final homecoming at the end of the war:
	When he came home, later, for good,
	they gave him a hero's welcome,
	flags everywhere.
	He sneaked round the back
	Into the house, his head full of screams
	He would carry for sixty years.
Something of a traveller, she has performed poetry at Byron Bay, Australia, Jane Kinninmont knows her London I was amused by DISMAL THOUGHTS FROM ARCHWAY ROAD, which describes this dismal area so well and was particularly impressed by MILLENIUM BRIDGE which has some brilliant images a few examples:
	My favourite spiky bridge
	Crowbars the city open.

	Lines of buildings unfold like huge stone arms.
And later:
	The crazy bulk of the Tate Modern,
	A battering ram knocking at the sky, 
	A giant finger raised at the city.
FIREWORKS, CLAPHAM COMMON makes me feel I was there:
	Cannonballs of colour smash themselves against the night, 
	as if suns aged just like dandelions, and when they burst
	their clocks scattered spores of new worlds.
	Beside me someone says Black sky with dreadlocks of fire!
Other London poems like CHARING CROSS ROAD and OXFORD STREET have strong rhythms and would make good performance poems.

Perhaps I have tended to over emphasise the fun and youthful outlook of the poems, there are indeed plenty of more serious and thoughtful ones like the longer FOUR SALESMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE and FANTASIA IN APOCALYPSE MINOR.

But my overall impression is of a poet full of vitality and a love of life.

Jane Kinninmont was born in Scotland in 1981. She describes her various occupations as including music journalist, political analyst and cheerful but incompetent bartender.

I enjoyed reading this collection, particularly for its refreshing youthful outlook and vigour and look forward to reading more of the same. If she has this quality of writing in her early 20s Jane Kinninmont should have far to go in the world of poetry.

reviewer: Ron Woollard.