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5.0 out of 5 stars warm, funny and sneakily political, 17 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Silence Museum (Paperback)
Clare's poetry sings with beautiful sounds and speakable rhythms. She tells stories that start with many people's experience (that trip to B&Q on a bank holiday, the disastrous relationships we endure before getting out) but she surprises the reader as to our new destinations. She also has a skill with surreal imagery and the witty pun.
I especially like 'Prayer Dogs' where we see a world populated by people's prayers turned into dogs: 'a woman mumbling chihuahuas' and 'a hospital surrounded by great danes'. It's wonderful. The poem about a homeless man who is almost a super-hero ends 'And when he died all the neighbourhood dogs/ went to his grave and stayed until/ the first rain of autumn, and in the spring,/ it came up with flowers/ no-one had ever seen or had a name for.'
In some poems Clare has a way of drawing you in by establishing a 'here' that is very familiar but then taking you 'out there' to think about things that you maybe weren't expecting: perhaps the environment, perhaps tourism or wealth. Even 'Love Song for Darth Vader', a laugh-out-loud fetish poem, is followed by 'Skywalker' - not Star Wars' Luke Skywalker, so much as a boy in a dust bowl village avoiding tourists 'hard and white and devastating'...
'England expects' is another poem whose politics invade you by stealth. We expect 'to wait in line, to be on time' and then 'to win the lottery, no matter how unlikely'. The list is familiar and amusing. We also expect 'quality items at the lowest prices,/ any fruit or vegetable in every season.' The poem ups the ante and the contrasts become explicit: how can we have everything at once? Something has to give surely? We expect 'to reduce asthma and drive everywhere/ immediate service and fewer refugees'. I won't say how it ends, but the escalation of situation and contradiction is beautifully controlled and it is a damn fine poem. Do read this collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking fun, 11 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Silence Museum (Paperback)
I don't read much poetry these days, but I know what I like. Or so I thought until I picked up this book, which had been recommended by a friend. It's opened my eyes to some really super poetry: thought-provoking, challenging, and laugh-out-loud at times.
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The Silence Museum
The Silence Museum by Clare Kirwan (Paperback - 8 Aug 2013)
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