by Eleanor Rees
Liverpool University Press
978 178138180 9 softback £9.99 published 2015
A beautifully designed series, simple formula for the covers but rich in colour. Slim with 45 pages in this volume. Font size is smaller than some larger formatted collections which means the content in this ‘Pavilion Poetry’ series is at least the same, possibly more. The downside of this is that I had to wear my glasses as print just that little bit smaller than I could cope without. Additional upside is that this smaller format fits beautifully into a jacket pocket. You might even manage two!
19 poems plus usual index and last page of notes and acknowledgements which usefully outlines their provenance.
This is Eleanor Rees’ third collection.
For me Blue Black is the most fascinating and memorable. There is a continuing of the link with the ‘animal’ world and a flitting between and juxtapositioning of the living and the natural forces of nature, it’s beauty and rawness and the timelessness of history. The initial images filter tension into and out of the poem and the progression of slipping into different focus seems to offer a degree of relief as the subject timeslips. The rhythm of the language pushes you along and the story in all its potential levels makes itself clearer as the verse progresses. In fact the more the story clarifies the greater the tension, which remains for some time after the closing of the final lines, of the book.
This is a short collection of 19 poems but the author and publishers should be applauded for having a collection that does not fit the poem a page routine. Of course there are single page poems but many slide over to two, or eight or ten (Blue black) pages. In this third collection we can read the substantial creativity of Eleanor Rees and her melding of history, nature and emotion and the skill in developing a ‘oneness’ from a multitude of ideas. Foremost in her writing is the use of changing forms, transmogrifying, as it were into different species whilst in full flow which is offers both continuation and further development of style as well as theme. There is also the touching on the darker recesses of the unconscious mind, not a digging, more a small bore-hole into Pandora’s Box.
Yes, I have to admit to a bias of ‘the memory of the land’ which I have interpreted into this last, and maybe other, poems.
Maybe a short collection warrants fewer titles to pick out, here goes, a live choice:
Obviously my main choice is. Blue Black
And in no particular order: Dusk Town, Arne’s Progress and Seal Skin and the title poem, Blood Child. However, the whole collection is for re-reading.