Catherine Bateson's new poetry collection has at its centre three lively sequences that address the hard graft of spiritual negotiation. Imagined for present, past and future times, each of them tracks the slow and the sudden dissolution of love - yet love stories they are. Her characters are distinctly and originally conceived, with a habitual storyteller's craft.
Fore and aft of these sequences are some poems that are more directly reflective. 'Marriage' is the familiar here - or at least the otherness of daughterhood, motherhood and being a lover. 'Beginners', it is suggested, is what we remain.
These poems are wise, unillusioned and generous, reminding us that 'each morning/the fat eye of love/ winks back'. The poetry throughout has a confident grasp of telling images, and of tonal and rhythmical tact.
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