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The Memory Tray Paperback – 23 Feb 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Seren (23 Feb. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854111167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854111166
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,093,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Deryn Rees-Jones' lively debut collection explores issues of gender and identity, memory and desire, through witty juxtapositions of character, plot and theme. Formative poems resound with magical imagery, as in "The Great Mutando" and recapture the dream-states of childhood where "Grandma in the Garden" appears, not as a homely matriarch, but as a terrifying figure with 'one wild Modigliani eye hooking the clouds'. Other poems focus on love from initial erotic frisson to break up and 'the strange geographies of hurt'. Also included are ambitious, various monologues like "Lovesong to Captain James T. Kirk" and the provocative "Metamorphoses" featuring a transvestite who dreams of being Marilyn Monroe.

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By LittleMoon VINE VOICE on 1 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
The cover image on this 1994 début collection by Deryn Rees-Jones, comes from Remidios Varo's "Woman Leaving the Psychoanalyst", and is fitting for The Memory Tray, which contains outpourings of the mind. The collection is about people, and from the spaces between everyday life where imagination and memory dwell, are coaxed poems that give voice to their (our?) unspoken thoughts.

Some of the poems are strange, and daring; "The Lovesong to James T. Kirk" for instance, and the "confession" of the transvestite in "Metamorphoses":

No one believes I'm Marilyn Monroe, 36-28-36. At fifty,
5'10, a beard and thirteen stone, not even me. But you have to dream.

Disarmingly open, they presuppose an intimacy with the reader that feels quite uncomfortable at times. We're almost being told too much, though the poems never stray into profanity.

Rees-Jones writes, with what may become characteristic boldness, about love, sex and passion. She does this exceptionally well. Few poets are able (or even try) to capture the physical aspects of human love, either with frank insight or with beauty: this poet does both. She also tackles memory, often. Poems of childhood reminiscences, of people, of the way the past contains so much that is at once long gone, yet remembered.

The Memory Tray is not easy, but contains poetry which favours multiple readings, and some unpicking (by which I mean the reader must do some thinking). The collection is a little uneven, and some poems work better than others, but overall this is a volume of surprisingly vigorous, yet gentle, poetry.

Finally, a taster from the opening of the poem "Shadowplay":

I come to you like a child, as only an adult could

With the silence
Growing and shrinking.
This is it. Infidelity.
These are the strange geographies of hurt.
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