NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
RHIANNON HOOSON: THE RECKLESS BEAUTY
Wild Women Press
10 The Common
Windermere
Cumbria
LA23 1JH
UK
ISBN 0 9536989 5 5
5

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RHIANNON HOOSON: THE RECKLESS BEAUTY

This is poetry of blood and blade, of the boar hunt, of sacrifice, of love at knife point. It is set in an apparently timeless world that draws on a multitude of myths, from Wales, the author's home, but also from Siberia, Ancient Greece and the Old Testament. The poems draw essentially on images from nature, from the night and the night sky, from woods and sand and desert. Only occasionally does modern life peep out, quite unexpectedly, an unanswered telephone, pylons that hiss and crack in the rain, a Windsor knot, a light bulb, driving and these serve as a sharp reminder that Hooson's purpose in using myth is not to embed her tales in some distant and irrelevant past. The latent violence of the subject matter is contemporary, personal, and this becomes more apparent as one reads on.

Hooson's choice of language enables her to achieve a masterful combination of the sensuality and violence of human relationships. Her rhythms are firm, her language taut, and her use of alliteration, internal rhyme, and, above all, the repetitions fit well within her mythical framework. Certain words recur like a leitmotif: blood, meat, wound, flesh. The imagery of action is well embedded in metaphor: laughter that snarls, smiles that glint, a bird circling an "acid-sharp path" into cloud, the tang of dawn that "sluices the window", the sun's "loud smack". We could be in the kenningar.

For anyone who knows Elisabeth Rapp's poetry, THIS RECKLESS BEAUTY reads almost like photographic negatives of Rapp's view. Here is the violent underside to suffering, both man's and nature's, and HOOSON revels in it. I recommend anyone with a taste for blood to get their teeth into it.

reviewer: Jacqueline Karp.