Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Hearing Voices: Volume 4

Hearing Voices is a literary magazine, published by Crystal Clear Creators. Although only three issues were funded by “Awards for All,” the magazine has fantastically made it to the fourth issue. I am fortunate to have one of my own poems included, titled “Someone Else’s Photograph,” taken from my forthcoming pamphlet of the same name, and I’d like to mention some of the pieces from the magazine which caught my attention.
           The magazine opens with Todd Swift’s poem, “Presentation.” I enjoyed the internal conflict of the poem, particularly between the voiced and unspoken: “Let’s have a minute break/of silence to jaw-jaw/mulling it over...” I thought that the sense of having missed something through the cyclical motions of the poem was well placed at the end, “listen to those songbirds/ that last week we’d like to sing,” as well as providing a striking entry into the other voices in the magazine. 
          “Finding Time,” by Charles Lauder Jr presents an intimate glimpse into Albert Einstein’s evening. Einstein’s theories thread gently through the poem like his wife Mileva’s sewing. The lack of punctuation gives the piece a feeling of continuity, and emphasises how “time is felt differently in both rooms.” The scientific is also central in Jonathan Taylor’s “Neutron Star.” In the universe of this poem, the speaker has “compacted the dead star of you,” the claustrophobic equations culminating in the couplet, “its protons, electrons crushed to neutrons/ like anything else which comes too close.” I thought the way that the relationship of the poem is revealed through distance was particularly effective.

I enjoyed the concise images in Chris Hardy’s “We are Here.” The names cut into the “soft red brick” offer a point of permanence, only to be “washed away like a beach of stars/ beneath the Sun’s tide.” I also thought the imagery was strong in Helen Ivory’s “In Bluebeard’s Garden.” I have just re-read Angela Carter’s short story, “The Bloody Chamber,” and I enjoyed Helen Ivory’s alternative retelling of the Bluebeard fairytale. In her poem, Bluebeard “plants” his victims in order, “from a distance/ they are trees holding hands.” I thought this image was both tender and disturbing, the murdered women grouping into groves. This sense of transformation also appears in “A Witch’s Death: 11 March 1618,” by Sue Mackrell. The poem is haunted by the murdered witch’s familiar who shifts form from a cat, to a hare, to an owl. I thought that the changes worked effectively by focusing on the physical, “...as a spasm/pushes out pinion feathers/he becomes/owl.”    

          “All That Remains,” by Hilary Spiers is a framed narrative, providing a glimpse into a woman’s memories of young love. I thought the shift in time, triggered by viewing a painting, worked well. I enjoyed the description of the seaside landscape, especially the “wind and sunburnt lips,” which conjured images of the illicit affair with few words. The unknowing tenderness of the final lines was striking. Memory is also used effectively in “The Summer of Controlled Experiments,” by Maria Taylor. I liked the humour of the experimenter vowing never to wear her “unflattering” dress again. The poem presents a romance, with echoes of Romeo and Juliet, “this is no holy kiss,” but far less idealised, “discussing supper, no candle lights.” 

I loved the rhythm of Deborah Tyler-Bennett’s “Mr F’s Lament,” beginning with the tumbling, “I know this place where dark’s a spreading space/ between fingers,” opening a space for the poem’s glimpses of prostitution. It has inspired me to read Harris’ Lists on which the poem is based. There are many other brilliant poems I haven’t mentioned in Hearing Voices, and I definitely recommend purchasing a copy. It only costs £3, or £2.50 for members. Purchasing details are on the Crystal Clear Creator’s website:  http://www.crystalclearcreators.org.uk/ 

No comments:

Post a Comment