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The Beginnings of Trees [Paperback]

Geraldine Paine
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 68 pages
  • Publisher: Lapwing Publications (30 Oct 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1909252484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909252486
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth waiting for 17 Jan 2014
By Sheenagh Pugh VINE VOICE
Geraldine Paine is not the sort of poet who rushes a book out every couple of years; her first collection, The Go-Away Bird, came out in 2008, also from Lapwing, and I reviewed it here.

This second collection, then, has been some years in the making, but the long gestation period shows in intensity rather than expansiveness: these poems are mostly brief, pared, sometimes epigrammatic, with seldom a word wasted. Blaise Pascal, allegedly, once apologised, "I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short". It's baggy, wordy poems that can be churned out quickly; precision and spareness take time. Consider how much longer "Coming of Age" (quoted here in full) might have been, and to how much less effect:

She was twenty the first time. A back-hander
across the face, stinging. Her thirties were blurred.

At forty she tries a new eye-shadow, yellow
tinged with brown. Her fingers are gentle.

The ending here is redemptive, which I recall as a characteristic of her first collection. There are other redemptive endings here, like that of "Family Case", in which a young man's downward spiral is possibly halted by the willingness of someone to believe in him. But there is quite a lot of darkness here too, especially in those poems concerning lonely old age. In "Activity Class", the relentlessly cheery music and pompoms in the care home make a sombre background to the old man who has

lost seventy years
under the chair where it's sticky

or behind the chintz curtains
where his mother waits.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What pleasure 11 Feb 2014
By jane
What an enjoyable collection: ‘…’Come you’ll say,/‘it’s been so cold without you….’’ There is so much love and warmth in these poems and such concision. With great wit, Geraldine Paine has created a whole world, from the Blackbird to the blonde ‘thirteen going on thirty’ calling ‘Oi! Tosser!’ and not just one world, but several.
'Where was it you wanted to go?/
The end of the line, you said,/
a house, a cherry tree.//
He wanted the centre of things,/
you said. Of course he did.'

Sharp,evocative, moving poems.
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