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A playful observer among knitted poet brows,
This review is from: The Brink (Paperback)
The most impressive quality of this collection is its playful quality which in no way sacrifices the weight of meaning and description. In this, Polley has perhaps bridged a gap that has widened in recent years between the melancholic academics and
the humorists of British poetry. Naturalistic accuracy (his father squeezing together worn down soap bars)can sit with impunity beside adventurous metaphor used. The personification of many of a house's parts for instance in 'Moving House' is beauteous in its absurdity but strikes deep into the heart of a culture so entangled with the business of securing and relinquishing property. I like Polley's wryly romantic image of the pioneer carving his new house out beneath the stars - an impossible dream for many, foolhardy even. Playful but wise.
Another great moment in the book is the snow poem. Brian Mccabe and Robert Frost have hitherto done masterful justice to this substance but the poet's descriptive powers here are on a par with Hughes.
If there is to be any iota of humbug it could perhaps be directed gently at Polley's avoidance of the darker sides of life so dear to many of his contemporaries, wittily acerbic Simon Armitage and the poet laureate to mention two. England drowning and becoming populated by fish has a somewhat Disneyfied gloss on it although it is also a good poem. Forget it! Jacob Polley is a rousing magician of metaphor. - Sean Cartwright