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HALL OF FAMEon 1 December 2003
Lavinia Greenlaw's previous two collections have shown her to be among the most interesting and gifted poets in Britain, but this collection is outstanding. Some seem to be inspired by her childhood; others by observing animals in London Zoo ("An arrangement of parts, the giraffe/carries himself off, all height, no wieght"). The vigour and wit of her imagery (Blackwater starts "Where the coastline doubles up on itself/as if punched in the gut by the god Meander") is matched by a thoughtful melancholy. The most powerful is The Flight of Geryon, inspired by Canto XVll of Dante's Inferno, which becomes an extended metaphor for the terror implicit in trusting someone. The latter poems describe a period in the Arctic Circle. A striking collection, dominated by themes of travel, loss and hope, it has already been short-listed for the Whitbread Prize for Poetry. It deserves to win.
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