SHIRLEY HETHERINGTON: FLYING LESSONS
c/o Arts Development
ISBN 1 899503 74 9
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This page last updated: 10th December 2007.
|SHIRLEY HETHERINGTON: FLYING LESSONS|
FLYING LESSONS begins and ends in the air. Between flights she retreads the journeys of childhood and maturity with the light-hearted skill of a word-dancer who is also an artist. She looks at her personal world with affection, but always with pertinent questions which invite us to draw our own conclusions. There is a matter-of-factness about her work , a telling-it-as-it is quality that eschews the academic cleverness of so much contemporary poetry.
In ROLLER SKATES she recalls;
[I] remember the first time clutching at doors and fences, I wanted to be Sonja Henjie. Soon balanced, I belonged with the tribe. Twilight deepened over Clepstone Avenue and Birchgate Road We moved together, a cool machine, ballbearings in harmony, then spun out into the unknown spiralling Van Gogh stars.The sheer ordinariness of her language compliments the voice of her authenticity in GHOST TOWN:
The town I inhabit is sootier, smaller, safer. I can reach out and touch the sides. Iron masters and shop keepers its elite, but gritty men who worked the foundries and shipyards its mainstay.And later we meet GREAT AUNT CIS
In the album, a fashion plate at forty, A spinster of this parish She lived above the shop in Linthorpe Road, her watercolours on the wall, a drawing room piano. behind the spectacles, jet beads, she had something up her sleeve. How they met I've no idea, or when Irish Uncle Tom moved in. for me he'd always been there, rough tweed against her crepe de chine, a growling dog under the table, himself knitting by the fire.SONG OF THE POTTER is of course close to home. I can't imagine anyone evoking the craft with greater feeling or clarity.
Thirsty bisque sucks in glazes I pour and swirl around the bowl. Brown peaty pools of tenmoku, dolomite clouds matt blue sky, pepper –green turns yellow and the gorse blossoms, smoky blue shadows snow. The alchemy of fire creating landscapes. I tap the rim and like an instrument the pot rings with perfect pitch.These are then the observations of an artist-poet couched firmly in her environment. The poems are to be visited and re-visited for they not only offer us truth, but delight in the telling.
|reviewer: John Cartmel-Crossley.|