NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
SIBYL RUTH: I COULD BECOME THAT WOMAN
Five Leaves Publications
PO Box 8786
Nottingham
NG1 9AW
UK
ISBN 0 907123 54 6
4

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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
SIBYL RUTH: I COULD BECOME THAT WOMAN

Sibyl Ruth's second poetry collection of twenty-three poems is a celebration of femininity and personal relationships. She writes in a conversational style deriving inspiration from memory or imagination. PLOTTING is a good example of her style, in which various amusing scenarios are suggested as a venue for a first date but should the genre be film or play? Alternatively perhaps romantic fiction? Should there be drama or irony?

	The scenes of nudity which follow
	are purely for artistic reasons.
	(On radio I'd do it with creaks or grunts
	plus piano music by Eric Satie)
The difficulties in personal relationships often come to the fore in her poems, take these opening lines from TRUE CONFESSIONS :
	She enjoys him when he's elsewhere.
	Because it's easy missing him,
	making kissing noises on the phone
	at night and murmuring fond names.
Whereas the poem that follows called OFF SEASON strikes a more thoughtful note:
	While you lie on me
	I think about mussels.
	Great blue-black knobs and clusters of them,
	a vineyard on the shore...

	How they make a home
	and do not drown.
Many poems have a very contemporary feel. A PROPOSAL concentrates on the more practical aspects of love, rather than the romantic. Others in similar vein describe the pitfalls of partnership.

There are several perceptive poems about motherhood and the way parenthood changes attitudes, A THIN BLUE LINE IN THE LARGE WINDOW is one. Another poem I particularly like is NIGHT FEED, which in short sharp lines captures the essence of motherhood:

	Called from oblivion,
	sleep shot to bits
	by a barrage of angry syllables
and later:
	Gums fasten on my breast.
	Then you settle.

	No traffic or thudding music, 
	Just the slurp and snuffle of your breathing,
	A far-off fox's bark.
All instantly recognisable to a newly created granddad like myself!

Sibyl Ruth is of German-Jewish and Welsh ancestry, which perhaps explains much of her obvious sympathy for people in difficult situations. I found this sympathy in poems throughout this very interesting collection.

reviewer: Ron Woollard.