NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
KAREN ALKALAY-GUT: SO FAR, SO GOOD
Boulevard Books/ Sivan
71 Lytton Road
Oxford
OX4 3NY
UK
ISBN (Sivan) 965 339 040 6
(Boulevard) 1 899460 36 5

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KAREN ALKALAY-GUT: SO FAR, SO GOOD

Fortunately the poems within don't tempt a 'so what?' response that the title seems to invite. Occasionally, though, a good idea seems to run out of steam, eg in MAMMOGRAM WAITING ROOM:

	There is no one here whose breasts 
	have not been caressed 
	by a lover  and no one
	who is thinking
	of that moment now.
more could have been done with the sound-patterning set up with breasts / caressed and the repetition of no one. Often Karen Alkalay-Gut relies on anecdotal-style language to convey an irony or humanistic concern, eg POLAND:
	The day after their daughter
	went on her high school trip to Poland
	there were three suicide bomb attempts,
	two children were killed and many maimed,
	and he turned to his wife and said,

	'Thank God she's safe in Auschswitz.'
Yet she is capable of creating a striking image, eg in WAYS OF LOVE:
	On days they had arranged to meet
	he would sometimes wake from a dream
	that he had been spread with honey
	and now could not escape the flies.
	For hours he would catch himself
	flicking away imaginary insects.
Could do with more of them. Overall this is an enjoyable read.

reviewer: Emma Lee.