Rain Paperback – 5 Aug 2010
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""Rain" is a truly important book, not only in the development of this must-read poet, but because it engages with the rough and tumble of life in a way we recognise as true. Read it now, before it becomes famous." --Fiona Sampson, "The Independent""The master of shadowplay demonstrates again that he remains clear-eyed about the representations he so artfully contrives." --Adam Newey, "The Guardian""Don Paterson's poetry collection"""Rain" contains some great-and I do mean great-poems. He comes very close to Yeats at moments; Yeats without the hocus-pocus. First time through, I reread 'The Day' three times, just to confirm it was as astounding as I suspected." --Toby Litt, "The New Statesman" (Best Books of the Year)"Paterson is simply one of the best living poets in the UK." --"The Observer" (England)"The musical drive of the poems gives them an immense advantage in power; elements become lodged in the ear and hence in the memory.Dealing as this book does, in its diverse meditations, with loss, guilt, anger, helplessness, and many of the other insalubrious emotions that are the lot of human beings, it seems only just that the final poem (and the title poem at that) should be a gesture aimed at washing away the aches of the past, much as Jehovah was said to have washed the sinful world clean with the flood. Rain, in this poem, is the atmospheric rain of a noir film. Such a film, Paterson says, can do no wrong, regardless of its possible errors of plot or scene or casting. Forget the spillages of our past: the ink, the milk, the blood. We are cleansed, but we are also 'the fallen rain's own sons and daughters / and none of this, none of this matters.' It is a sort of secular absolution, making the corrosive world briefly bearable, perhaps.This is a poignant and remarkable book, worth a reader's thoughtful attention. A number of the poems included in it are, I feel sure, destined to last." --Jan Schreiber, "Contemporary Poetry Review" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Rain, by Don Paterson, is the first new collection of poems for six years from the acclaimed Scottish poet and winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry (2003).See all Product description
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Paterson is a very good technician. He uses a fairly wide range of form to deliver his subject. He is equally adept with managing rhyming couplets and presenting interesting schemes of imperfect rhymes. In the main he avoids blank verses in stead working at presenting the sonnet almost in a new guise as in the "Landscape" and "Miguel". His mastery of form and subject can be seen in the poem "Renku: My last Thirty-Five Deaths". Here Paterson appears to contrast the every day here and now reality with something more profound and beyond our grasp. And he explores this contrast between reality and the unknown by alternating rhyming couplets with triplet verses.
He certainly displays great control over the form in which he writes. Take my favourite poem from the collection - namely "The Day". In this poem, the stanzas take the forms of sextants in which Paterson manages to maintain a scheme where the second and penultimate lines rhyme. But more interestingly as a third person narrates the experience of old age and the reflections of two lovers, Paterson manages to shift the tone between the narrator and the two people who enter upon a dialogue brilliantly. This gives profound effect to a message about love, life and the question what is life all about.
There are some lively and highly imaginative metaphor and simile. Paterson begins a poem entitled "Parallax" thus: "The moon lay silent on the sea/as on a polished shelf". In the context of the poem, the language of these two lines is quite simply a pleasure to read.
This is a very good collection of poems ranging from the playful, the obscure to the profound. I found them thought provoking. Just when I thought I had grasped the meaning of a given poem, I found that very meaning illusive and evasive. This is the stuff of which good poetry is made - do read the collection.
However, these poems do repay repeated reading,and I do find profundity and intense feeling - am moved.
'Form' is pretty meaniningless to me - though these poems often rhyme and are tightly constructed in verses - but there is a certain pared down simplicity, though they often deal with complex subject matter, which is appealing, and adds to the effects of poems that are concerned with fundamental themes - childhood innocence, the natural world, death.
Thus, although I can kind of agree with both the very positive, and very negative, reviews above - I can see the value in this collection, and the poems become more resonant with each reading.
So, a good example of contemporary British poetry - one where the poet has found his voice, and expresses something very personal - in an evocative, often moving way, that has proved very successful.
Is this great success deserved? Well what do I know - these matters are highly subjective in my opinion - but perhaps I might agree more so that it is after living with the poems for a bit longer.
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