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This review is from: Dart (Paperback)
"Dart" is made of one single 48-page long poem. But what poem!
Alice Oswald recorded many conversations she had with those who live and work on or near Dart River (in Devon). She used their voices, dialects, expressions, pleating them into this long multi-faceted text.
The resulting text is a mix of prose poetry rendering carefully selected and adjusted spoken language (the text never sounds as if it was the simple transcription of taped conversations) and quite lyrical poetry in stanzas.
It changes rhythm, tone, is rich in alliterations and plays on sounds. "Dart" refers to local people as well as to characters form the Greco-roman mythology.
The fact the poem goes on over 48 pages gives it a flowing quality, which cleverly suggests a river. Since the Dart is very short, most of the river is affected by the nearby sea's tides, and the mentioned animals, birds and fish can be either fluvial or marine.
Alice Oswald has managed to stitch sections end to end with almost invisible seams. She just changes subjects, makes them flow into each other.
This is a radically atypical piece, a long, creative journey into a world of water and words.