NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
D M THOMAS: NOT SAYING EVERYTHING
Bluechrome Publishing
PO Box 109
Portishead
Bristol
BS20 7ZJ
UK
ISBN 1 904781 96 9
7.99

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D M THOMAS: NOT SAYING EVERYTHING

In not saying everything perhaps Mr Thomas has said too much. This is not to disparage his poetry quite the opposite. His work is well able to stand by itself without the potted biography and snapshots that accompany it. Yes, of course, the prose introduction to the verse is illuminating. Some readers may find it, even in this day and age, a little shocking. But then Mr Thomas is a past master at shocking his readers. He has been accused of obscenity, venality, etc. Unjustified epithets, I think, when one considers how he is able to elevate the most carnally graphic passions to art form. This from FLESH:

	Let me ache, indicate, simper who touched
	Your warm cunt, whisper, let on now,
	Disperse them into our love.
	Who did you? It's all the same:
	Deep prick or, islands of assiduous fictions,
	Disperse them into our love.
And love is what gives this poetry its energy love for a dead woman. He, like Hardy haunted by Emma, is compelled to write it down. Unlike Hardy, of course, he is not straitjacketed by Victorian morality; although, despite that stifling restriction, Hardy was equally successful in communicating an all-consuming passion and, in his case at least, a deep regret.

Mr Thomas is both imagist and symbolist. Note his use of haiku (and, often, the short musical line) this from a haiku/senryu sequence at the beginning of the book:

	Clothed in earrings,
	you disengage to strip yourself
	submissively naked
And his symbolism in such poems as BIG DEATH LITTLE DEATH:
	They are double-agents exchanged at a border
	it's snowing from a grey sky on to black fields
	they climb out of black cars

	they are terribly tired
	of wondering whom they betray
	they avoid looking into their own eyes
There is yet another ism: romanticism. It is this particular ism that enables him to transform those graphic, carnal passions into a sensational and moving love story.

As to that prose introduction why not a separate and complete autobiography, Mr. Thomas?

reviewer: Michael Bangerter.