NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
RUTH PADEL: REMBRANDT WOULD HAVE LOVED YOU
Chatto & Windus
Random House
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road
London SW1V 2SA
UK
ISBN 0 7011 6715 7
7.99

RUTH PADEL: 52 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A POEM
Chatto & Windus
ISBN 0 701 17318 1
12.99

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This page last updated: 1st September 2009.
RUTH PADEL: REMBRANDT WOULD HAVE LOVED YOU

The back-cover blurb says

"..a woman's eye view of a love affair.."
which hardly encourages one to read. BUT this poet has a different eye. Eye? skin, breath, breasts, mouth, flesh, hands, belly, thighs are all subtly threaded in the pattern of her loving. Remembering the most tender moments, yet able to move away mentally and write, when the CD wouldn't play :
	..You wanted to lie
	beside me, bathing in this music, and the bloody thing
	won't work..
I read the book again, wanting to quote lines, but they are so interwoven that a whole poem is needed to get the feel of her loving. The title is taken from the poem quoted from above, possibly the most passionate and tender of them all. Rich and sensual, Ruth Padel's way with words never cloys and it is a roller-coaster of an affair. When they part
	You wanted it to live for ever
	this body you wonder at
begins the poem. Then longing to be with him at the end when he's old
	and show him how your body, down
	to its blue-varnished toes, still glows
	from touching his.
A book to be wallowed in.

reviewer: Anne Lewis-Smith.
RUTH PADEL: 52 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A POEM

In 1998, Ruth Padel had a brilliant idea

writing a newspaper column that would print a modern poem and add my own way of reading it.
The idea was put to The Independent On Sunday, and starting in January, 1999 it ran for two and a half years. This book collects 52 of the poems discussed a whole year of poetry, creating a unique critical anthology.

The poems themselves are prefaced by READING POETRY TODAY a 50-page essay that is both a concise history of 20th century poetry and an examination of poetic form. The book closes with a GLOSSARY OF POETIC TERMS, so the reader is really getting three or four books for the price of a single volume.

In among the "usual suspects" I found a few surprises poems, or poets that were new to me and that I was glad to have brought to my attention; C. K. Williams' BARM, Paul Farley's KEITH CHEGWIN AS FLEANCE, Colette Bryce's BUSTER.

There's something for everyone here, and though I regretted some of the omissions, I can only say that this is a superb book that provides a good overview of contemporary poetry and enough food for thought to last for years to come.

reviewer: John Francis Haines.