An independent small press poetry review

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Bluechrome Publishing
PO Box 109
BS20 7ZJ
ISBN 1 904781 74 8

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This page last updated: 1st September 2009.

Icarus, with a perihelion of 0.19 astronomical units, passed 600,000 km from earth in 1968. Unlike that 1 km diameter lump of rock the poet Roselle Angwin promises to be much more than a flashing-by minor planet.

The original Icarus, the son of Daedalus, escaping with his father from King Minos of Crete flew too near the sun, presumably much nearer than 0.19 astronomical units, so that the wax that fastened his artificial wings melted and he plunged into the sea and drowned.

Will the reader reach a safe haven or perish in waves of poetical turmoil like that ill-fated son of Daedalus? Time and the devil will tell. But be warned. The book is hard to put down. Don't pick it up if you have an urgent appointment.

LOOKING FOR ICARUS begins in the southwest of the British Isles. Will we find King Minos and his ravenous Minotaur, the bull fed annually on seven youths and seven maidens, down there in Devon or Cornwall? In the poem WEST as in the land itself the bovine scene is often otherwise:

				Stream bank; marsh marigolds;
	meadowsweet and yellow flags. Red Devon cows' tongues' lazy
	tugging. White noise of insects. 
	. . .
	Once, long ago, there was a country.
Our journey moves quickly on to St Ives, that bastion of all things Cornish:
		Tall latte in a glass. Garlic bread, hummus, olives,
	roast aubergines and peppers with goat's cheese. Two seals in
	the shallows. Sun. Hot. Sun.
We then meander dreamily via Exmouth, Lundy, Bodmin Moor, Boscastle and several other locations to eventually pull in at ZENNOR where the question on the poet's mind is voiced:
	And so, after so long, what was it 
	calling, that pulled me west
	to this glass-blue day
	at the edge of the land?
One of my favourite poems in this compilation is CRACKS. Here Roselle Angwin demonstrates her ability to pull, or not to pull, her poetic strands together. CRACKS may tell us something about her modus operandi:
	Even without tides the waves here 
	mumble and chew at the shore.

	An exercise in dislocation. Broken things:
	your fine artworks, smashed, uncared-for.

	Later we walked again by the lakes.
	There were other fractures  

	watching the coots, how a hen pecked
	at a chick, pecked as it squealed, pecked

	and pecked again, held it underwater.
There's much to make the reader sit up and take notice in this handsome Bluechrome book with its stylish cover design by Shirley Cousins.

The poetry is a fusion of the natural and the metaphysical or quantum in varying degrees. There's often some mysterious third person in the poem; it could be the reader, a god, a lover, a spirit, or only an absence.

These days with so much pedantry around there's a real need for a volume such as LOOKING FOR ICARUS. The title poem hints at what it is that Roselle Angwin is looking, nay searching for:

	the crickets' song
	only underlines absence
and in the following poem IN TRANSIT she provides further clues:
	in the space between the inbreath 
	and the out, where we vibrate 

	like the earth at 7.8 Hertz 
The poems are readable, challenging and intriguing and far from daunting. Their descriptive power is immense, especially in the early part, but it is largely sustained through the middle and revived before the final gentle fallaway note. The whole hangs beautifully together as a symphony of light.

Roselle Angwin is a natural and gifted poet. As she says herself in THREE FOR DHARMA a trio written for Jack Kerouac:

	Tending the fires. What else is there to do?
What else indeed.

reviewer: Gwilym Williams.