An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
edited by Victoria Bennett
Wild Women Press
10 The Common
LA23 1JH
ISBN 0 9536989 8 X

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This page last updated: 10th December 2007.

The 3AM CLUB developed out of the Wild Women collective which was itself a development from a Lancaster University Creative writing course led by Victoria Bennett in 2003.

This collection marks a leaping off of five of these graduates plus three members of the original Wild Women poets. The closeness and interconnection of the group makes for an interesting blend of work essentially springing from one source, and it will be interesting to see if, three years from now, we can make the same links between the poets.

The poetry of Victoria Bennett seems rooted in a personal nostalgia, seeking to escape — THE SILENT MUSIC:

	My heart is too rough, too raw
	to be worn by your smooth symmetry
	but sometime it whispers,
	rattles its bones at the moon

	and remembers, remembers
and from the conclusion of DRINKING IN THE RAIN
	I hold the glass now,
	raise it to the fading day;

	my friend who, too soon, became
	the rain, the sun, the air,
	this very poem written now—
	the words, the note, the tune
Lewis Baker also walks in the rain in his poem MATCHBOX TEARS AT 20.
	I got lost in the rain
	because it didn't remind me of you.
	I smiled to myself as every drop
	cleansed my mind and every shiver
	shuck you off.
and continues into the bleakness of RAINMAKERS ALMANAC
	Outside it is raining
	and I long for the storm
ED LOMAX, a poet and musician, follows a similarly damp route in SHOWER CURTAIN
	I soak myself in this;
	running down into,
	and through, my mouth—
	washing out the hatred
	that I almost said.


	and still it won't cleanse the blood.
Though LIFE AFTER DEATH and TREE OF HEAVEN investigate far sterner stuff, dealing with the darker side of human nature. Here is a poet to look out for.

A similar strength is found in the work of JOHN CHALLIS (also a musician) whose CHICKEN SKIN MUSIC and IF ALL WE DREAMED WHERE NEW are both sensual and romantic.

Reluctantly there isn't space to look in detail at all the poetry in this collection other than to say all the work is seriously worthy of critical attention. Sarah Gasson, Gill Hands, Ruth Snowden and Oliver Turrell complete the group.

This is a collection worthy and necessary for your poetry shelf. The embryonic and established talents of the poets is to be applauded, and, as John Challis says in his excellent poem CHICKEN SKIN MUSIC:

	We aren't blind when it comes
	to dreams—

	we know more than we let on…

reviewer: John Cartmel-Crossley.