NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
RUTH LEADER: THE PEACOCK ROOM
Cinnamon Press
Ty Meiron
Glan yr Afon
Tanygrisiau
Blaenau Ffestiniog
Gwynedd
LL41 3SU
UK
ISBN 978 1 905614 08 0
7.99

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RUTH LEADER: THE PEACOCK ROOM

Ruth Leader's passion for the myths and legends of Thailand unites this collection. She invites us to travel with her on a magic carpet that's threaded through with peacock-coloured silk. These are finely spun poems born of loss - though not loss that invites our pity. Paradoxically each poem affirms the poet's retention of all that is Thai they make real its flora and fauna, its culture, whose vocabulary, set like gem stones, is found within many of the poems. This from GRANDMOTHER'S TONGUE:

	As often as I can I take off my shoes
	and socks and wade
	through night water to dalaat
	where women beautifully
	fat
	as sleepy Rajasis
	fan hills of purple shrimp
	-paste and dark-red chillies
	like splintered rubies;
Occasionally her finely wrought memories and imaginings are brought down to earth by a sudden counterpoint of UK everydayness from PET BEETLES:
	We used to keep them on string,
	those beetles, you know,
	the rhinoceros ones with horns.
	We would feed them on sugar
	-cane and egg bananas (the ones they try to pass
	off in Waitrose as exotic)
Ms Leader's achievement is not only to communicate a depth of feeling with economy and perfect integrity, but also to show us her Thailand in such a way that we too can experience its strange, mesmerizing beauty from NIGHT ROOTS:
	Take a walk
	through the streets
	of Bangkok behind the temple
	where Buddha sleeps and you will greet
	the flower market chalked with colour like neon
	bulbs celebrating the dark.  Buy an armload of jasmine,
	orchid, roses, birds

	of paradise and wander home,
THE PEACOCK ROOM is excellently produced with a stunning and apposite cover design.

reviewer: Michael Bangerter.