NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
SUSAN RICHARDSON: CREATURES OF THE INTERTIDAL ZONE
Cinnamon Press
Ty Meiron
Glan yr Afon
Tanygrisiau
Blaenau Ffestiniog
Gwynedd
LL41 3SU
UK
ISBN 978 1 905614 16 5
7.99

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SUSAN RICHARDSON: CREATURES OF THE INTERTIDAL ZONE

CREATURES OF THE INTERTIDAL ZONE is a collection of poetry rooted in the natural world, more specifically rooted in ice and ocean and the journeys made across them by humans and animals. The poems include haiku and tanka, two villanelles and a number of poems showing skillful use of end rhyme, as well as extensive use of internal rhyme. Richardson is a poet who knows how to use the sounds and rhythms of language.

There are poems here based on the experience of the men, including Scott and Shackleton, who explored the Antarctic and others based on stories of the Scandanavian heroines Gudrid and Freydis. There are several poems about penguins, including the humourous villanelle BOOKSHOP BLUES:

	I wish I could leave this book's orange spine.
	I've been Great Fiction's symbol for too long.
	It's time someone thought up a new design 
and GROUNDED the delightful meditation on the evolution of the penguin as a flightless bird:
	I acquired a real flair for plummeting,
	and still rate my first bungled landing
	as the greatest achievement of my life.
Birds also feature in THE LONGEST FLIGHT, a series about migration. Restless, the first poem in this series conveys beautifully the itch to migrate, which:
	                permeates everything,
	inhabits a layer beneath her skin
	like permafrost under the tundra.
The most powerful poems though are those that deal with ice and global warming. DEFROSTING is a description of a penguin sculpted from ice by South Korean artist Byung-Soo Choi, as it melts. THE ICE IS WEARING PURPLE offers the image of ice grown old:
	I've had my fill of fighting the sun, of his summers
	of abuses  each part of me that meets

	the sea's been bitten ragged.
While THOUGHT FOR THE DAY equates ice with a god:
	God is getting hot. Big chunks
	of god keep breaking off.
	God will force the waters of the world to rise 
	and he'll capsize much more than a lone Pacific atoll

	for god knows that most people have stopped
	believing
	in ice.
A plea for finding a balance with nature, WAITING AT THE BREATHING HOLE finds the narrator waiting:
	for the whiskered nose of inspiration,
	for a flippered urge to surge to the surface
where the narrator will feed the seal and then
	just let it
	breathe
We need to listen to these poems, heed the warnings and learn to give nature the space it needs.

reviewer: Juliet Wilson.