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There are travel writers and travel poets; and I know which I prefer. Ms Karp is a travel poet; she is also a traveller and a linguist. There are certain poets who purport to be the former without being either of the latter. She is able to bring a reporter's veracity to her subjects, made special by her particular vision and style which is both perceptive and musical as in CHRISTMAS DAY:

	in Prague brings snow to order
	lacing red roofs and apricot facades
	with its own timebound Baroque.

	Mix and match grannies plod the Voltava
	young men strain from muzzled dogs
	that sniff despairingly at evening views
Ms Karp's poetry can be more fully felt by the reader who is a traveller — armchair or otherwise — because, most probably, she has worked in the countries in which she sets her poems. In each there is real engagement — no mere tourist/voyeur here — she has had to negotiate the differences and eccentricities of her host countries. This from ADJUSTING:
	Ours the first pale imprints of the day. Boots,
	pressed firm in the precinct's virgin snow,
	squeak and crunch their rubber against ice.

	The cathedral's brick and copper verdigris
	towering above us in the snow-filled sky
	the only colour scheme available.
	We must adjust to this demi-jour, eyes
	blinking hard against blinding grey and sleet,
	the spectrum banished to another time.
In UNDER SVÉA BANÉR she juxtaposes Swedish antique choral music and the world around her:
	When I slip the CD in
	the sounds come slowly.
	At first a trembling
	dawn-lemon hum,
	then deep throbbings,
	a cello's amber vibrato,
	voices as firm and sudden
	as marching boots.

	In the near dusk
	Uppsala students
	make their way
	through narrow streets
	past cream-chested houses,
	beside my café table,
	their white and red banners
	curling wildly
	to gritty wind and sleet
There is pinpoint economy in this writing that manages, also, to maintain a natural elegance of language as in KOLODNO DIARY:
	I lose my landmarks here
	no blue no turquoise green
	instead a sort of peace
	the dark forest circling
	the sky with its stillness
Ms Karp brings her eye and I to this first collection, taking us from Sweden to the Baltics in the unique vehicle of her sentient and often scintillating poetry.

reviewer: Michael Bangerter.

Jacqueline Karp is a travel poet. Her first collection brought together poems about Northern and Eastern European countries. Now she turns her attention to Spain.

The poems are beautifully crafted, with just the right amount of descriptive detail. They never slip into touristic cliché or sentimentality. She tries to get below the surface of what she sees, to dig out the everyday lives and dramas of the people of Spain. So different from all the trash we are fed about Spain on television. Her subjects range from an art exhibition in Bilbao to a greengrocer's at Cabezón de la Sal.

Nearly all her vignettes and protraits contain the unexpected. In the poem TALES FROM THE GUGGEHEIM, after describing Clemente's illustrations to Ginsberg's poems

	childlike boys
	catching their translucent dreams
	in their puppy dog cheeks
	before they run away
she turns her attention to the guard:
	But how does the guard
	in stern red jacket and tight grey skirt
	spend her long day
	surrounded by this plethora
	of wine red penises
	and row upon row of see-through yet
	dreamily vague vaginas
	as colourful as a Caribean market?
Lack of sexual fulfillment is a recurring theme. From PINE NUTS AND ANGEL'S HAIR:
	These are the muscle men, frolicking
	naked in the afternoon sun,
	mocking young novices who scrub
	and clean the cloister at day's end,
	their young frames throbbing
	with passion never quenched.
The contrast between the ideals of the Catholic church and the realities of men and women and Spain come across forcefully. From WAITING:
	A church thrusts its warning tower
	up to God and young almonds
	clutch their slim velvet,
	awaiting a rebirth.

	But Easter has grown
	tired this year. On the old
	Gerona highway
	wan-faced girls in laddered tights

	tout for clients searching
	for a quick release
	in the littered lay-by
	among the crouching trees.
Karp's sympathies lie with the dispossessed:
	the bent women... 
	their nylon bags cutting
	through old chapped flesh
from BLOOMING, the immigrant night porter in a hotel in Barecelona, who has
	no responsibilities
	no family
from BARCELONA, the blind man whose white stick
	counts one
	by one the battered metal seats...

Yet the overall tone is one of celebration of the sensuality and vibrancy of life in Spain. For example, in BLOOMING

	the greengrocer girl is blooming:
	melon-breasts, asparagus-fingers, apricot cheeks
There are delightful moments, such as when she sees in ALBARRACÍN:
	...the men, herding their flocks up to graze

	on the rocky pastures above the town, wrap rough
	djellabas round them and call out 'Balak! Balak!'
	as they egg their sheep through the narrow streets.
Karp explores the history of Spain, its impact on individual lives, then brings us bang up-to-date. From IN THE BAR:
	Poised, totally indifferent to
	the overhead roar of fighter planes.

	He's seen it all before: Romans, Visigoths,
	Arab, Berber, Aragonese. Republican. Nationalist.

	And now Aznar, mouthing his proud policy in Iraq.
I have to confess that I would sometimes have liked to have seen more the emotional impact of Spain on Karp personally. At times, she is almost too much in control of her material, too much like a brilliant photographer passing from one scene to the next. I wonder how she, Jacqueline Karp, has been changed by the experience.

One other small criticism: at times the Spanish words are translated in a footnote, at others they are not. Consistency would be better here.

However, overall, it is difficult to recommend TEARS OF HONEY AND GOLD too highly. If you have already been to Spain, this will make you see the country with different eyes. If you haven't, this book will take you there.

reviewer: Ian Seed.