An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
Ligden Publishers
34 Lineacre
ISBN 978 0 9520431 8 8
5.99 [9; $12]

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Nearly 50 poems introduce us to the work of David Pike. The booklet is attractively covered, illustrated by his photograph and including many positive comments on his work from magazines and papers. I did find it offputting in format by having four blank pages at the end (pp.56,58,59,60) with p.57 used for Notes.

The poems, as the blurb comments, I suppose, generally conform to being

of a wry, twinkling nature ... [with] a wry affectionate view, ... at one moment joyfully absurd and at the next haunting and cruel.
I found several poems which seemed to me a bit squibbishly damp, yet which if I had heard them rather than read them might have gone off in my brain quite amusingly. The reading brain seems to anticipate, analyse; whereas the audio entrance of lines is often more effective. This seems to act conversely, as in ALL CANNINGS, quite a respectable poem but one which might fail in impact when read to an audience, owing to more subtlety, starting
	To sweep my eyes down a water line
	which shimmers then curves to Honeystreet
	to a point 
	where plain and sky
	become a weave of grey and green,
	somehow seems to calm me down. 
Anticipation of what may lie beyond, unseen, is rejected, suggestion may be illusion, and Pike falls back on an inner feeling:
	When shadows fall on shallow water
	I drink it in, drink it in,
	as the land feeds
	I feel I understand
	what the soul decrees,
	a gentle thirst.
Many poems in which the 'humour' was direct and simple, such as in MR.GREY and SHITEHOUSEN did not register with me as laughable. I think the reaction to humour is impredictable. What tweaks the brain in one person, in one critic, in even one nationality, may fall flat in another.

IN THE MIX has qualities and usefulness, I think, which depend very much on the attitude of the reader or member of an audience.

reviewer: Eric Ratcliffe.