serious moonlight ...,
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This review is from: A Sleepwalk on the Severn (Paperback)
This is Oswald's very own 'serious moonlight' tour. It is not quite epic length, but it is a long poem. But fear not if long poetry sounds a bit daunting, the poem is sliced into small sections of about a page, four at the most. So is already in more manageable chunks than the 5 uber sections Oswald lists at the beginning (new moon, half moon, full moon, no moon and moon reborn). Each of these little sections deals with a different aspect of night, moon and estuary. Having grown up on an estuary (not this one) I found it immensely resonant. Some of the images in the poem made me catch my breath with delight at their aptness and originality. Despite my familiarity with the sort of landscape Oswald describes, these linked poems really made me see that landscape afresh, as well as the mindsets of those who live there.
The section on the Severn Bore is absolutely magical and bang on!
Protagonists are named in places throughout the work. Sometimes as one would write the characters speaking in a play (which made pretty good sense) and sometimes as headings at the tops of pages (the purpose of which I didn't find so clear). In both cases the type face was so small that I had to squinny at them. And (especially the ones at the tops of pages) they were easy to miss. What they added I didn't in many cases understand. That is THE reason I didn't give this 5*s.
The reason I bought this was because I was hoping to be part of a reading of it in London. The reading was sold out! (Alice Oswald's star is, truly, that high these days). But in preparation I read most of this out loud to myself. I recommend this heartily; the lines speak themselves and the sonorities, half-rhymes, full rhymes, verbal witticisms and rhythms leap out of the page when read that way. We don't read out loud enough, except to children. Why should kids get all the fun?