NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
PETER REDGROVE: SHEEN
Stride Publications
4b Tremayne Close
Devoran
Cornwall
TR3 6QE
UK ISBN 1 900152 87 8
10

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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
PETER REDGROVE: SHEEN

Peter Redgrove died in 2003 and this is the last book of his to be published. Here is the end of his poem REVENANTS:

	I saw my mother
			who has been dead
					ten years,
	Strolling
			on the other side of the street,
					the shady side,
	Arm in arm with a good-looking man
			not my father,
					and she was full of joy
	Looking up at this man;
			then she crossed the road
					to me and I
	Was that man.
With just four exceptions, all the poems in this book are in this style, composed in three-part lines that spread across the page. Reading such work takes a bit of getting of used to. What the technique does is to make the reader concentrate on each section every word becomes important.

Of the four poems whose lines follow conventionally down the page, FROM THE GOOD PEOPLE is still composed of three-line stanzas. THE FONT is a powerful poem about water and life:

	She was from her belly and had made
	A divine shape in it, as

	The horse stamps rainbows
	Out of the wet earth.

	A font installed this morning in the church:
	All the water in the world,

	...
whilst RANK is a mixture of three- and two-line stanzas.

In many of these poems, images build to create an atmosphere as in DOOR AMONG THE DUNES (St. Enodoc.)

	Over and over, the same face
			in variable whispers, the face
						that watches the sandbound
	Church from all side;
			the dunes nudging the church
						flowing over the church
	Concealing and revealing it,
			reproducing the
						countenance of the wind;
One of my favourites from this collection is LIZARD MOONSCAPE:
	Lizard lighthouse and lighthouse buildings,
			cottages of the moon,
						towers of the moon,
	...

						the tower piled inside
	With brass instruments, up to the
			cyclopean eye
						like a whole brass band
	...

	My friend in charge of light
			climbs his spiral stairs in his dressing gown
						hums a safety melody on his way
	To bed, the safest bed in all the kingdom.
SHEEN isn't one of those books you can read through quickly. Each poem needs to be savoured. Three or four in a session and you'll be sated enriched by the seering, seeping language. You can then close the book, but you'll know you will coming back to it for more.

reviewer: Mandy Smith.