An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
edited by Jan Fortune-Wood
Cinnamon Press
Ty Meiron
Glan yr Afon
Blaenau Ffestiniog
LL41 3SU
ISBN 0 9549433 6 8

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This page last updated: 10th December 2007.

THE LIE OF THE LAND is an anthology of poetry from Wales. This collection has been put together not only to showcase some fine writing but also to raise funds for the Meningitis Trust. In the foreword, Peter Finch explains that:

Poetry in Wales today is no longer constrained by an obsessive need to express identity
and this is certainly not a collection aimed simply at promoting Wales. It is a mature collection of poems covering a wide range of themes and styles.

While there are poems that remember the industrial heritage, such as HISTORY by Owen Shears and THE VIVIAN QUARRY, LLANBERIS by Nigel Humphreys, there are many others that readers of any nationality will identify with.

Christine Evans' evocative FIRST SONG tells of an infant beginning to make the sounds that will shape into the language of intelligence as he becomes aware of himself and of the world around him.

	Four months old, Michael
	opens his mouth and looses
	a stream of liquid syllables
	that speak to us, like the whale-singing,
	or another world, our earliest
	surges and soundings.
TEA-TIME by Don Rodgers could serve as a lesson to us all.
	Of course, I regret it now 
	that I ushered him out
	with a wave of the kettle,

	in mid-sentence. I was dying
	for a cup of tea, and he
	just wanted to chat.
The man being waved away and disregarded simply wants to chat about the old times; his remembrance of better days. It bought to mind many times in my own life when I may have been too busy to give five minutes of my time and this poem raised a hint of guilt in me, and in its narrator:
		But I do
	recall my courteous smile
	didn't fool him;

	the way he left,
	clutching his copy of the map
	of the way things used to be.
In MY FATHER, Dylan Jones paints a vivid picture of a man wasting away.
	Piece by piece the body drops
	Its usefulness.
	He is stunned and surrounded.
This painful imagery is compounded by the narrators mother who seems to go about her daily routine regardless of her husband's condition with only a hint in the last line that maybe, she feels disturbed too:
	In December she starts her spring cleaning
THE LIE OF THE LAND would suit many tastes. An excellent choice for those who wish to read such names as Pascale Petit, Jan Fortune-Wood and Herbert Williams while knowing that they are supporting a very worthy cause.

reviewer: Susan Woollard.