An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
Bucephalus Press
67 Hady Crescent
S41 0EB
ISBN 0 903212 01 3
3 [$6]

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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.

Written on the inside of the front cover of this collection is a definition of the word poiema part of that definition reads as

something made, an artefact wrought by an artist.
This book's fifty eight pages, without exception, contain work that can be so described. I would recommend any student of poetry to buy this volume and study it carefully for its subtle use of all the elements that go to make a well crafted poem. Having said this, better that a reader should just sit back and enjoy the humour, poignancy, drama and sheer range of subject matter that these poems contain. Mr Holliday's subjects (many are characters from history) straddle time and place: the Romans and Greeks to Tompion, Kafka, Eichmann (one of a group of poems portraying leading members of the Third Reich). From OLD THOMAS TOMPION:
	Old Thomas Tompion pondered a clock
	whose face should echo the escapement's rock
	and show with precise mechanical grace
	the earth's slant spin as it swings through space.
From i.m. FRANZ K.:
	To hear the peremptory knock,
	the unexpected visitor,
	the men arriving in the dark,
	the searching, bland inquisitor;
	to know assurance melt and end,
	the death of competence and calm:
	our fault we do not comprehend 
	it is out guilt that gives us form.
	An ordered office speaks an ordered mind;
	files docketed and indexed make it plain
	how projects are meticulously planned,
	smooth as scholastic logic, understand
	the basic premises, and the design
Each of the poems in this quartet (PORTRAITS FROM THE THIRD REICH) has a meticulously explicit, removed quality that would have been applauded by the Parnassians.

In TIGER, the big cat is not 'burning bright in the forests of the night' but is cruelly confined:

	The tiger's world is circumscribed
	by concrete bedded metal bars;
	the iron sky above his head
	is pierced by bolts instead of stars.
A poem that, in just a few lines and without any hint of anthropomorphism, communicates the creature's searing frustration.

Mr Holliday is a poet who delights in form, and his villanelles are mesmeric (as they should be) and affecting. From POEM FOR BARBARA:

	The time is dead: it will rot come again.
	I couid not make amends now if I tried;
	It is not hard to bear another's pain.

	Obsessive fantasies torment the brain.
	Even Canute could not turn back the tide:
	the time is dead; it will not come again.
A few quotes from a few poems, and my appraisals (however affirmative) will not do this collection justice. It deserves to be read from cover to cover.

reviewer: Michael Bangerter.