NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
K.E. SMITH: ANCESTRAL MEMORIES
Feather Books
PO Box 438
Shrewsbury,
SY3 0WN,
UK
ISBN 1 84175 117 0
4
available post free from the author at
7 Cockley Hill Lane
Kirkheaton
Huddersfield
HD5 0HH
UK

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K.E. SMITH: ANCESTRAL MEMORIES

This is a wide-ranging collection that effortlessly evokes the many places it visits. In the first part of A NORFOLK SKETCH TOUR (1. CROMER: THE SETTING OUT):

	These ochre cliffs are creamed
	by fresh September light
	and edged by greying smoke
	where fishermen stoop to fettle
Across the Atlantic, he sits IN THE ATHENAEUM LIBRARY, NANTUCKET:
	not the one Book of the whale's prophet,
	scrunching through years of bloodied ice,
	nor the improving volumes left to those
	fog-bound, word hungry wives of Nantucket
Whether he's obliquely commenting on a series of paintings set in Norfolk, going back in imagination to Homeric Troy, or looking at the landscape of these islands, he takes you there, makes you feel part of it even if it's somewhere, or when, that you've never seen in your life and makes it live. Vivid images leap off the page in almost every poem as in THE SHIVERING MOUNTAIN:
	The turnpike that tried this easier gradient
	to avoid the rock-dropping Winnats Pass
	with its dizzy chicane of cambered ice
	and outlived enough torn-folded maps
	to become mundane A 625, is hole,
	is blank in the gear-thresh from Chapel
	that fingered down to this valley thread
	but now lurches back to avoid the drop. 
There's a useful set of notes at the back of the book which help explain some of the references and place some of the poems more firmly in context.

reviewer: John Francis Haines