An independent small press poetry review

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The Macan Press
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£2.50 [€3.50]

Palores Publications
11a Penryn Street
TR15 2SP
ISBN 978 0 9551878 6 5

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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.

An interesting array of poems here, whether observational, quirkily personal or emotionally intensive. Patrick Williamson writes poems inspired by images/episodes in Amsterdam, Bucharest, Paris, Lausanne and other European settings, as well as one in Quebec and others set in England. There are some wonderfully-crafted and extremely original and self-indulgent images; in TRAY OF EGGS, he writes that

		I would like to take
	their massed concentration
	in a photograph then, enlarging it,
	lay them out like cobblestones
	on a beach, and line them up to the sea.
LOBSTER EATING links together well-off people's self-conscious yet deliberate turning of a blind eye towards the poor with his own guilty preparation of lobsters for a meal:
	dead before they hit the pot, bands, claws
	and my trepidation irrelevant,
	if they do not twitch or give me the eye
	they are enjoyed, on my rich man's table.
Striking, slightly off-key or quirky images rub shoulders with an intensity of feeling and experience, as in BLACKBERRY FIELDS:
	I find thorns that prick my skin,
	blood flows unchecked,
	the savagery knows no bounds.

	Returning, with shards picked up
	from the earth we trample,
	sourness blackens our tongues.
Another fine poem, FLATS, again explores a theme with two distinct yet complementary ingredients; his observation of a couple in a flat opposite who have just moved in contrasts and juxtaposes with his own memories of his newly-wed possession of his flat and present reality:
	As I cook, I want to shout
	you know what step you're taking?
	Somewhere, I think they do.
	She takes a bowl down from the top shelf
	whips up an omelette.
	My wife is chattering on
	I grunt in reply, looking out again.
The theme of loss and regret is quite prevalent, as in RAMBOUILLET:
	Seagulls squall overhead & perch on each decayed post.
	Tobacco smoke & squawks waft
	infant cries, reminders of family intimacy.

	If you'd been in, I'd have invited you
	to stroll down long avenues or gravel paths
	just to hear the crunch.
In LAUSANNE he uses the image of the covering mist on the lake to write again of loss and nostalgia, here both personalised and set in a time-frame longer than the self:
	Hidden to my right that cosmopolis
	where I met my past, Italian love,
	imposed, full of what is silent, silent —
	& behind, the vanishing time of sepia photographs,
	a world these days developed in color.
Though some poems no doubt could do with a little pruning, this selection is well worth a look. His intricacy of style, strong authorial presence and descriptive and narrative edginess are all present in THE BLUE ANCHOR, HELSTON:
	our headlamps create hedge shadows & turn away
	as we swerve, our seconds stretching into eternities of touch,
	kisses that, plunging, swirl to the bed
	if we believe in love, let me rephrase that,
	lust, or, more likely, just oblivion.

Reviewer: Alan Hardy.

Set on the Cornish coast, these dense poems evoke the area in the physical language of rain, wind, spray, the crashing of waves over rocks.

I am reminded of Ted Hughes and Robinson Jeffers, though Williamson has found how to stamp his own authority on the poems and in no way is in the shadow of the older poets. VISITING THE SHORE is a good example:

	He dug out the under-earth, his land,
	stretched it into a square, then built
	granite walls that well up to his drive,
	weather-beaten, hedge enclosed,
	his creation reveals the strength of stone.
Man is a temporary wanderer among the permanent natural elements, as shown in TURNING BACK:
	we shift in the wind a moment,
	leaving footprints in the sand, then
	shuffle off through the drizzle.
In many ways, Williamson's poetic world is encapsulated by THE SEA:
	hissing mists and deafening
	they mesmerise, hush my mind

Reviewer: John Francis Haines.