NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
KEVIN BAILEY: SURVIVING LOVE
Bluechrome Publishing
PO Box 109
Portishead
Bristol
BS20 7ZJ
UK
ISBN 1 904781 53 5
7.99

KEVIN BAILEY: PROSPERO'S MANTLE
Bluechrome Publishing
ISBN 1 904781 78 0
4.99

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KEVIN BAILEY: SURVIVING LOVE

These are thoughtful, precise poems (about a hundred in number), and very unashamedly open in subject-matter, as in TANGLED ROOTS:

	Delicately pink as a baby's mouth
	that's satiated with milk, a dribble
	of sperm leaks out  a gentle flow 
	the uterus pulsing back what it
	does not need: the surplus gob
	making more wet the stained bed;
	this sexual canvas, bare as our flesh.
SEX exhibits again this analytical licentiousness of the poet, a libido that has a writer's itch to record exactly:
	With her open legs
	   she offers up
	  the shrimp-pink
	      aqueous
	       hole

	A little worn perhaps
	      but honest
	     in its shawl
	      of matted
	        hair
This examination of bodily minutiae is illustrated by HAIRS where Kevin Bailey puts his post-coital penis under his literary microscope:
	I have hairs under the foreskin. Dark
	trapped hairs, there, under the foreskin.
A lot of the poems share this love of anatomical observation, such that the poems possess this in-built tension brought about by a cold-blooded titillation, the innate contradiction of soberly-drawn excitement, as in THE BLACK AND GREEN DRESS:
				A tie at the back,
	tightened, that draws the hem to mid-calf
	and pulls the waist into a hand's dream 
	and the breasts, as they should be, softened.
	You wear the dress: nothing, but the dress 
	bare feet and arms. Underneath, white flesh.
There are other themes than sex, women, nipples and such in this selection, many influenced by literary echoes and memories, but what is common to the pieces is Kevin Bailey's ability to focus images by using words sparingly, as in FOX:
	Exposing himself from the hedge,
	the gargoyled face of a fox
ROSE-HIPS is a splendidly-chiselled piece:
	Rose-hips
	swollen red amphora

	made of things
	greener
	than God's fingers

	jostling for sun
	in a swell of
	noon wind

	spread from the wreck
	of a greying oak
A particular obsession of the poet's is the Greek poetess Sappho, and the final section of the selection contains poems inspired by this close association and the fragments of her work that have come down to us.

reviewer: Alan Hardy.
KEVIN BAILEY: PROSPERO'S MANTLE

A pleasant little square booklet of haiku in which the 63 poems are arranged so that each left-hand page has a single haiku and each right-hand page has two. Perhaps this triplet arrangement is meant to mirror the three lines of the haiku themselves.

I always find that my reaction to such collections is a bit hit-and-miss, but I enjoyed

	the moon
	yawns
	in the lake
and
	under one umbrella
	a friend's
	face
and just occasionally one will leap out at you and really make you think, such as
	this child's gravestone 
	such a little thing
	hidden in tall grasses

reviewer: John Francis Haines.