NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
PAUL BATCHELOR: TO PHOTOGRAPH A SNOW CRYSTAL
Smith/Doorstop Books
The Poetry Business
Bank Street Arts
32-40 Bank Street
Sheffield
S1 2DS
UK
ISBN 1 902382 82 X
3

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PAUL BATCHELOR: TO PHOTOGRAPH A SNOW CRYSTAL

There is minimal subject matter in common in these ten poems and the value of this short collection is to be judged on poems individually, not as an organic collection reinforcing the subject of the book title, although subjects of two poem titles are echoed, viz: snow and photography. It is an opinion whether this work has appeared in print prematurely, perhaps, but no doubt it was a condition of success in the internal Book and Pamphlet Competition in 2005 organised by the publishers.

Enough is shown to press home the point that Paul Batchelor has a future. Probably the best qualifying features are delicacy and precision, not the usual dictum of economy which is a fashionable blunt tool. Economy looks after itself if other qualities are poetically efficient.

The above features are evidenced in KEENING with its direct metaphors not hiding behind obscure screens, and in the title poem TO PHOTOGRAPH A SNOW CRYSTAL. From the former:

	The quality of keening is not narrow.
	It ranges freely back roads and low roads:
	a violin heard from a window at night
	(a silken rubbing, a tune you can't place),
	a fellside lapwing signalling in slate grey rain:
Then, from the latter, lines said to commemorate the achievement of the first person to grow a snow crystal synthetically:
		Hokkaido,'54,
	Ukichiro Nakaya      
		coaxes a crystal
	into life on a rabbit hair
		in an unlikely menagerie
	of stellar dendrites
concluding with
	What might I make
		of these arabesques;
	facets and lattices,
		glyphs & ciphers,
	the shapes with which 
		you decorate your poems?

reviewer: Eric Ratcliffe.