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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry of Eternities
'We come from nothing and return to it'. ('Phantom V'). Here Paterson puts it baldly enough, but when this thought is threaded through other poems in this collection it is with far more nuance and subtlety - and when his own children are the subject matter, the poetry becomes fragile, beautiful and permeated with aching grief. In 'The Circle' Paterson's son struggles to...
Published 1 month ago by A. Stark

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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A poet in search of a subject
I have read books by Paterson, Nil Nil, and others - I remembered liking Paterson's Machado versions - . I see or I saw Paterson's work as on a par with Stephen Romer's, or Robin Robertson's, or Alice Oswald's. This new book was a serious disappointment however. I am like the other reviewer; I cannot believe how bad Paterson is in this book. I don't recollect the...
Published on 14 July 2010 by M. J. Powell


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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry of Eternities, 11 Aug 2014
This review is from: Rain (Paperback)
'We come from nothing and return to it'. ('Phantom V'). Here Paterson puts it baldly enough, but when this thought is threaded through other poems in this collection it is with far more nuance and subtlety - and when his own children are the subject matter, the poetry becomes fragile, beautiful and permeated with aching grief. In 'The Circle' Paterson's son struggles to paint a picture, but at the same time his water jar captures an echo of the universe. In placing the child in such a vast cosmography, his efforts are simultaneously futile and colossal. 'The Swing' touches on a similar theme - the moment of a child's existence between two eternities: 'I gave the empty seat a push / and nothing made a sound / and swung between two skies to brush / her feet upon the ground.' I haven't read anything so gracefully poignant. My favourite poem of the collection ('The Rain at Sea') I am not close to understanding: its power is its mystery.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Surprise, 30 Mar 2010
By 
Herman Norford "Keen Reader" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rain (Hardcover)
In rain, Don Paterson presents us with an extraordinary collection of poems. Some of the poems depict people doing ordinary things such as in "The Swing" and "Two Trees". Some of the poems such as "The Circle" and "Correctives" appear very personal as Paterson communicates a close relationship with a boy who appears to be his son. And in some of the poems the word dream recurs frequently bringing into focus, as it were, the sharp contrast between things as they are and things dreamt of. Paterson also pays homage to a number of past great poets such as Li Po, Salvator Quasimodo, Antonio Machado and Cesar Vallejo.

Paterson is a very good technician. He uses a fairly wide range of form to deliver his subject. He is equally adept with managing rhyming couplets and presenting interesting schemes of imperfect rhymes. In the main he avoids blank verses in stead working at presenting the sonnet almost in a new guise as in the "Landscape" and "Miguel". His mastery of form and subject can be seen in the poem "Renku: My last Thirty-Five Deaths". Here Paterson appears to contrast the every day here and now reality with something more profound and beyond our grasp. And he explores this contrast between reality and the unknown by alternating rhyming couplets with triplet verses.

He certainly displays great control over the form in which he writes. Take my favourite poem from the collection - namely "The Day". In this poem, the stanzas take the forms of sextants in which Paterson manages to maintain a scheme where the second and penultimate lines rhyme. But more interestingly as a third person narrates the experience of old age and the reflections of two lovers, Paterson manages to shift the tone between the narrator and the two people who enter upon a dialogue brilliantly. This gives profound effect to a message about love, life and the question what is life all about.

There are some lively and highly imaginative metaphor and simile. Paterson begins a poem entitled "Parallax" thus: "The moon lay silent on the sea/as on a polished shelf". In the context of the poem, the language of these two lines is quite simply a pleasure to read.

This is a very good collection of poems ranging from the playful, the obscure to the profound. I found them thought provoking. Just when I thought I had grasped the meaning of a given poem, I found that very meaning illusive and evasive. This is the stuff of which good poetry is made - do read the collection.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 21 Jan 2010
By 
Mr B (Paisley, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rain (Hardcover)
A wonderful collection. Profound and moving, but readable from beginning to end, and back again. He works wonderfully with form, and has a sense for rhythm and rhyme lacking in too many modern poets. To choose one poem from many, 'The Swing' is heartbreaking, and has provoked lively dissention among friends about just how bleak or hopeful his world-view is. His verse is intelligent and powerful, yet gentle. Buy it now.
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30 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 24 Nov 2009
By 
E. Garratt "Edd" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rain (Hardcover)
In my opinion the best modern poet and his best work. I loved it from start to finish. Im no good at reviews, but your obviously reading this for confirmation that you want to buy it, so go ahead, you wont be let down.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 2 Jan 2010
By 
Angel House "Poet" (South Oxfordshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rain (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful collection. I would recommend it to anyone who loves poetry or wants to love poetry.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A poet in search of a subject, 14 July 2010
By 
M. J. Powell "o/i mndspc" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rain (Hardcover)
I have read books by Paterson, Nil Nil, and others - I remembered liking Paterson's Machado versions - . I see or I saw Paterson's work as on a par with Stephen Romer's, or Robin Robertson's, or Alice Oswald's. This new book was a serious disappointment however. I am like the other reviewer; I cannot believe how bad Paterson is in this book. I don't recollect the clumsy 'cleverness' in the earlier work. The first four poems seemed weak - so right from the off - so I turned to the last one 'Rain' and thinking about this, it may be that mine is a misreading, it struck me as truly poor - . I am going to re-read this book at a later date to see if I have made a mistake because my first reaction was to lose my temper with it.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional, 14 Nov 2010
This review is from: Rain (Paperback)
Winner of the 2009 Forward Prize, 'Rain' is an emotional and philosophical collection of beautifully written poems. If anyone trots out those ill-informed would-be put-downs about how modern poetry is obscure or 'doesn't rhyme' show them this - it is neither of those yet is a firmly contemporary book of poetry.

Paterson has a masterful handling of form which never feels intrusive and always enhances the content of the poems, from the light-hearted opener in rhymed couplets ('Two Trees') to the darkly insistent 'The Lie' - five quatrains rhyming AABA and a concluding couplet BA. (You try it!) And then there's the techno geek-speak love poem 'Song for Natalie "Tusja" Beridze' with its ridiculously long lines, held together by equally ridiculous rhymes (eg. 'Nobuzaku Takemura' with 'harmonic bravura', and 'buggy or virusy' with 'software piracy'). It's a joy to read just to see what he's going to come up with next.

But there is also great emotional weight - the end of a love affair; poems about his son; and most impressively, the fittingly brilliant sequence 'Phantom' in memory of his friend, the late poet Michael Donaghy.

An exceptional collection... and probably the best released so far this century.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Star Poet, 9 Feb 2010
By 
Dr. P. J. Smail "bookworm" (Aberdeen Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rain (Hardcover)
As an occasional poetry reader I hadn't heard of Don Paterson until seeing it reported that he had been awarded the Queen's Medal for Poetry.I can now understand the reason for his fame.He writes approachable deceptively simply crafted poems with a wonderful sense of rhythm and feel for language.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this, then get all his other collections, especially God's Gift To Women, 19 Nov 2012
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rain (Paperback)
The title poem `Rain' is the last in this collection and strikes a marvellous kind of pose with its cinematographic insight on the particular iconography of rain. We are `the fallen rain's own sons and daughters' he says, as if drawing a line under the multiplicity of meanings he has addressed. In fact this is a collection based on family and friends with poems dedicated to Michael Longley as well as `Maureen and Gus', but he has also used this anthology of new work to name what might be influences, with The Poetry (after Li Po) and similar attributions for Antonio Machado and Cesar Vallejo, to name just two.

The opening poem is `Two Trees' - the tale of a man who grafted an orange tree to his lemon tree with eventual success:
`Over the years
the limbs would get themselves so tangled up
each bough looked like it gave a double crop,'

Then someone else bought the house, a man who `had no dream', and so separated the trees. The poem ends:
`They were trees, and trees don't weep or ache or shout.
And trees are all this poem is about.'

There is beauty here, but with Paterson, the dark side is never far away. In the family car halted at a level crossing:
`...While I was reckoning the strange
Intimate far-off exchange,
the feeling took an age to name.

It was an awful creeping shame.
Nothing on earth was ever less
concern of mine than that caress,

If such a human word would do
for what I saw; and worse, I knew
the whole sea fixed me in its stare.'

But for the really shocking (and puzzling) poetry, there is 'The Lie.' Like something out of Frankenstein, but really it is about the thing you cannot name, not even with poetry, perhaps much less with poetry. Or perhaps it is something you yourself have done that is so wicked you can only leave it, like a lie unnamed? (but not untended).

Together with a collection of Renku, named My Last Thirty-Five Deaths, there are a number of other beautifully constructed poems, which make images, provoke thought, made me smile and come very close (once) to tears.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poems that grow on you, 4 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Rain (Hardcover)
After purchasing this book to see what all the fuss was about - and maybe pick up a few tips on what makes a successful modern poetry collection, I was intitally very sceptical -'what's that all about' was my refrain- 'I don't get it', which is my reaction to much lauded modern poetry.

However, these poems do repay repeated reading,and I do find profundity and intense feeling - am moved.

'Form' is pretty meaniningless to me - though these poems often rhyme and are tightly constructed in verses - but there is a certain pared down simplicity, though they often deal with complex subject matter, which is appealing, and adds to the effects of poems that are concerned with fundamental themes - childhood innocence, the natural world, death.

Thus, although I can kind of agree with both the very positive, and very negative, reviews above - I can see the value in this collection, and the poems become more resonant with each reading.

So, a good example of contemporary British poetry - one where the poet has found his voice, and expresses something very personal - in an evocative, often moving way, that has proved very successful.

Is this great success deserved? Well what do I know - these matters are highly subjective in my opinion - but perhaps I might agree more so that it is after living with the poems for a bit longer.
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Rain
Rain by Don Paterson (Hardcover - 3 Sep 2009)
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