|extracts from reviews.|
he deftly counterpoints the observed world with the suffering that lies just below its surface.
...sharp and observant
Part of this collection of 35 poems was written while Brian Blackwell
was visiting lecturer at Minsk University for six years. These poems
reflect the daily grind of poverty without reliance on the strangeness
or exotic nature of their location, |
This week meat, sausage or eggs, fruit - No! That'll
have to wait. — Shoes to be mended
Instead. No shame in buying a single rose,
Not at two days' pay...
In dwelling on experiences both common and personal the
Minsk poems work best.
10th Muse (Emma Hooper).
Slightly more than half his book is devoted to predominately downbeat poems.
[Belarus] Today, alas, not the happiest of countries! But — as one whose close
association with the Belarusian people and literature dates back 46 years — I
should not like to think that his sojourn there was one of unrelieved gloom.
Rather, that — in the tradition of the Belarusian classical poets —
these dismal scenes were chosen to make a subliminal political point.
In which case he succeeds admirably.
Manifold (Vera Rich).
the poet shows a sensitivity to all living things in this perceptive volume
Peace & Freedom (Paul Rance).
The Smile of Lies by Brian Blackwell, is really two collections in one.
The poet is obviously a nature-lover, but his poems have neither the twee-ness
of Wordsworth nor the grimness of Hughes. Bird-lovers will twitch references
to several species. Birds and bees and other species of flora and fauna
congregate in these pages. There are dark shadows, as in Brother,
about a death in Chechnya, but there is also light glimpsed through
the trees. The second half, entitled In the Land of the Birches, is
made up of poems written either in or about Belarus (a western province of
the former Soviet Union and now an independent state), mostly in the
past six years while the author was visiting lecturer at the Minsk
University of Linguistics.There is an air of pessimism, obviously
inspired by his surroundings.
Sol(Malcolm E. Wright).