Acquired via BookCrossing 25 Oct 2007 – bookring

Excitingly, this is the poet upon whose work Calum’s poetry is based, in Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard. Linda sent two collections of his poetry to PeaMartin after an exchange of emails, and PeaMartin has kindly offered them to all the EG readers as a bookring.

I read this one first because it’s the one without the pictures… if that makes sense, saving the best till last. I very much liked the spare, sparse language, and especially those poems descriptive of landscape, whether rural or industrial. Some of the descriptions read like descriptions of the kinds of photos I love – details of bits of machinery, the edges of a tree, etc.

Two quotations that really summed up the collection for me…

From “Undercurrents”, a hint at the wry humour lurking beneath many of the pieces:

“But you must have seen my first twitches for
the spiral notepad – or the need itself –
to find the phrases which will organise
the signals a bit. Your question is
whether I can sit and be alert
without making something of it.”

I love the duality of that last line – both the idea of having to make something out of every small experience – the frustration of his companion, and the idea of crafting.

From “Circumambulation (Scarp Island)”, an example of the spareness of the writing:

“I dare not walk on this sand.
Tide ruts its own sound
between Scarp and Kearstay”

An excellent collection, and I look forward to the other one – with photos!