5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Poetry for the post-9/11 world,
This review is from: The Terrorist at My Table (Paperback)
There are some great poems in this intriguingly structured collection. In the first sequence, Dharker vividly captures changed perceptions in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 and July 7th 2005, where `Firm' and `Platform' conjure undertones of suspicion and threat from hitherto unremarkable scenes (watching from a tall building as a plane approaches, observing people with packages at railway stations). Such poems constantly undermine the appeals to trust and to the need to see the other's perspective in poems like 'Mine. Yours'. In the later poems, there's a welcome change of tone - the enjoyment of fleeting moments, the sense of being spared for another day as though all life hangs in a delicate balance in `Carving'; moments of redemption (`the grace of the familiar, the blessed, the everyday') in `Myth'; and the lovely pair of poems `Sari' and `Where her sari hangs', so strongly reminiscent of Richard Wilbur's 'Love calls us to the things of this world' in their use of clothes, not yet put on for the day, to summon us up, and call us to be part of the workaday world, the world where we grow `accustomed to travelling on the faultline of daily miracles' (`Halfway').
The counterbalancing effect of these later poems serves to give an excellent sense of movement from the earlier feelings of profound disturbance towards a sort of rest after frenzied travel, albeit a rest that is fleeting, half-glimpsed, never final or secure. This is why the collection as a whole works so effectively, in my view. Strongly recommended.