NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
BEN BARTON: THE RED BOOK
Plane Tree Press
Old Station Offices
Llanidloes
Powys
SY18 6EB
UK
ISBN 1 84294 180 1
4.99

email the author
visit the website of the author

www
NHI review home page
FAQ page
Notes for Publishers

book reviews
anthologies
magazines
other media

Web design by Gerald England
This page last updated: 10th December 2007.
BEN BARTON: THE RED BOOK

Ben Barton's debut collection, contains over forty poems that have appeared in magazines from 1996 to 2006. Here is an example entitled DRAGONFLY:

	Hovering above the sky
	Roaming free where liars lie
	The freedom 
	of a fire-breathing myth
	Above calm pools of water.
Here is another short piece, 9 TO 5:
	awake
	in a cloud of insomnia
	we sit,
	we do nothing

	awake
	in the mist of confusion
	we live,
	we achieve little ...
Ben Barton's poems have a simple, rather staccato and, it must be said, at times grating staccato beat, due to the no doubt deliberate stop-and-start nature of his syntax, as in THE CLIFF:
	Pushing through the bracken
	Getting closer to the edge
	where a winding path is broken
	Litter in the hedge
This insistent rhythm lends itself to the crafting of poetical lists where the message or theme is drummed home, as in FROM A ROOM:
	echoes
	from a room
	of silence

	laughter
	from a room
	of pain

	love 
	from a room
	of hurting

	confused
	by a room
	of mazes

	safe
	in a room
	with you.
Some of the poems need tidying up to make them smoother and more integrated wholes, or even just to iron out the wrinkles and silly bits, as in THE VIEW:
	The green carpet stretches beyond
	from room to room
	worn thin, patchy
	But still I am startled by the essence of this beauty
	It is breathtaking
The themes are fairly standard, such as death, the pointlessness of life, observational pieces and so on; this is a poet searching gamely for his particular thematic and stylistic niche. As a final (and fine) sample from this selection, HOME TRUTH deals with the poet's return to his boyhood town:
	In my mind, I'm still that child,
	running and wheezing, the asthma attack
	still lingers, like the cold marsh air
	Careless phantoms haunting my memories
	Tackling insecurity, and leaving me bare.

reviewer: Alan Hardy.