KEVIN BAILEY: SURVIVING LOVE
PO Box 109
ISBN 1 904781 53 5
KEVIN BAILEY: PROSPERO'S MANTLE
ISBN 1 904781 78 0
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This page last updated: 1st September 2009.
|KEVIN BAILEY: SURVIVING LOVE|
These are thoughtful, precise poems (about a hundred in number), and very unashamedly open in subject-matter, as in TANGLED ROOTS:
Delicately pink as a baby's mouth that's satiated with milk, a dribble of sperm leaks out — a gentle flow — the uterus pulsing back what it does not need: the surplus gob making more wet the stained bed; this sexual canvas, bare as our flesh.SEX exhibits again this analytical licentiousness of the poet, a libido that has a writer's itch to record exactly:
With her open legs she offers up the shrimp-pink aqueous hole A little worn perhaps but honest in its shawl of matted hairThis examination of bodily minutiae is illustrated by HAIRS where Kevin Bailey puts his post-coital penis under his literary microscope:
I have hairs under the foreskin. Dark trapped hairs, there, under the foreskin.A lot of the poems share this love of anatomical observation, such that the poems possess this in-built tension brought about by a cold-blooded titillation, the innate contradiction of soberly-drawn excitement, as in THE BLACK AND GREEN DRESS:
A tie at the back, tightened, that draws the hem to mid-calf and pulls the waist into a hand's dream — and the breasts, as they should be, softened. You wear the dress: nothing, but the dress — bare feet and arms. Underneath, white flesh.There are other themes than sex, women, nipples and such in this selection, many influenced by literary echoes and memories, but what is common to the pieces is Kevin Bailey's ability to focus images by using words sparingly, as in FOX:
Exposing himself from the hedge, the gargoyled face of a foxROSE-HIPS is a splendidly-chiselled piece:
Rose-hips swollen red amphora made of things greener than God's fingers jostling for sun in a swell of noon wind spread from the wreck of a greying oakA particular obsession of the poet's is the Greek poetess Sappho, and the final section of the selection contains poems inspired by this close association and the fragments of her work that have come down to us.
|reviewer: Alan Hardy.|
|KEVIN BAILEY: PROSPERO'S MANTLE|
A pleasant little square booklet of haiku in which the 63 poems are arranged so that each left-hand page has a single haiku and each right-hand page has two. Perhaps this triplet arrangement is meant to mirror the three lines of the haiku themselves.
I always find that my reaction to such collections is a bit hit-and-miss, but I enjoyed
the moon yawns in the lakeand
under one umbrella a friend's faceand just occasionally one will leap out at you and really make you think, such as
this child's gravestone — such a little thing hidden in tall grasses
|reviewer: John Francis Haines.|