NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
PAM THOMPSON: SHOW DATE AND TIME
Smith/Doorstop Books
The Poetry Business
Bank Street Arts
32-40 Bank Street
Sheffield
S1 2DS
UK
ISBN 1 902382 84 6
3

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PAM THOMPSON: SHOW DATE AND TIME

SHOW DATE AND TIME was a first stage winner in the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition in 2005. It is a creative collection of keenly observed moments. The poet picks fragments of time from her canon of experience and presents them like carefully mounted specimens for us to inspect at our leisure, allowing the reader to share her thoughts as they will. But there are no butterflies here. All is sharply focussed by the writer's tell it as it is no nonsense style.

The collection opens with MORNING EARLY (HIGHLIGHTS)

	I give you the Black Bank pub; firkins stacked in a yard;
	in the air, rainwater, stale beer.; and somebodys son,
	somebody's daughter, somebody's
But we are dispassionately asked to retrospectively witness a tragedy,
		...now, Peering down
	Onto the road where the line was. Mystery of a word, amputate.
DECEMBER 30th 2004 brings a magical opening, but soon reverts to the matter of fact observed world,
	Bronze leaves on pavements;
	frosted brooches a summer seeking goddess
	might have dropped leaving this world
	of mobile phones and fast food. 
	...
	my son downloads long-haired girls
	with eyes cold as dead stars
	from web-sites that might be other planets,
	...
	The past as incubator, shawl,
	changing mat; as pantomime (those
	costumes). The ages. Stacked on the floor.

	My daughter fourteen, falls in love
	with her face again;
	is my younger fleeing self.
SHOW DATE AND TIME, is imbued with a sense of nostalgia, but nostalgia without sentiment. The poet views her world with candour and acceptance.
	Since then
	they have cut down the trees behind the house
	...
	and unknown animals pace the outlying fields.
	there is new legislation against rambling; there
	is new legislation about not scrawling your name
	in indelible marker on the nearest street sign

			but you do.
	...
	the hallway has become overgrown with flyers,
	letters, newspapers and a loose ball of garden twine
	which you will unwind further
	...
	walking into the rest of your life,
	holding onto the end holding on so that if, when, soon
	you can rewind, trace your way back to the street sign where
	Your hectic scrawl reminds you who you were.
The collection's penultimate poem WHEN IT COMES sums up, for me, the overall tenor of the work. If there is such a thing as positive pessimism, then here it is.
	the earth won't shift.
	...
	it will barely flicker,
	When it comes you may hear irregular beats,
	like a faulty pentameter, a leaky heart.
	One of seven plots, you will act in it, I will act.
	...
			You may not
	even hear it as it won't be seismic but subtle.
	Like scent. Like a leaf. Near your lips as you move to kiss it.
There are twenty poems in this fine collection. Pam Thompson has a voice that should echo through our minds and should, through her skill, remind us who we were. It is a voice I look forward to hearing again and again.

reviewer: John Cartmel-Crossley.