Anna Saunders reviews ‘&’ by Amy Kinsman

 

 

9781910834770

 

 

Dylan Thomas believed that fine poetry is marked by words that ‘lift off the page’ and a prize winning pamphlet by Amy Kinsman fulfills this criteria beautifully.

 

& ( Indigo Dreams ) is a collection of poems which leap of the page by way of their inventive syntax/form and their rich and musical lyricism.

 

‘Orpheus, the trick was not to look away’ – ends the first poem of Kinsman’s startling and fiercely original pamphlet.

 

And like Persephone the reader feels themselves falling into a mysterious and transfiguring universe.

 

These are luminous poems which give intimate and domestic scenes a sense of universal import by way of their lush lyrical voice and powerful, revealing imagery.

 

In bathsheba is writing again the biblically inspired protagonist describes herself as ‘just a scribe, the one who trails in your wake to scratch the parchment and make record’ – and this fine pamphlet demonstrates how poetry can bear witness and transform the prosaic into the precious.

 

I will pen whatever your decreed to be honesty, line the pages

with gold as if it may take the ugliness out of the verse. we

will all become mythology

 

Kinsman’s voice is urgent, playful yet profound and emblazoned with Latinate language.

 

In the delicate yet dramatic the moth, the moon and the bathroom light the moth beats against the wall knowing ‘nothing of lycanthropy/satellites, orbs, celestial bodies’  whilst the poet stands observing ‘pitiless, apathetic/ as a spent bulb’.

 

And there is much drama in these poems. Some poems are tense and taut, for example the breathtaking anton yelchin in which an actor with ‘kiss curl hair/dimpled cheeks, still keen to talk about stanislavski’ ‘ is killed in a collision.

 

Even here in violent moments the precise, ethereal imagery isn’t lost – and he

is ‘ pinned there like a butterfly/his lungs fluttering in the darkness’.

 

Throughout the book Kinsman makes new – often taking mythical ideas and weaving them with the contemporary. A fine example is the god of husbands which explores identity, sexual politics, and platonic ideals.

 

The poem is full of erudite allusions and fuses classical imagery with an urgent, and questioning address. It is witty, knowing and at times deeply moving.

 

you said: look at he who severs us, forgetting

how love first was born and wrecked alone on the beach

dirty, half – drowned, wrapped up in a fisher mans net.

 

In these mysterious interiors, so much occurs. I relished dark rooms – with its slashed lines, staccato statements and astute depiction of intimacy and vulnerability.

 

In a haunting scene skin becomes ‘that ghost of flesh /between two seams /

and ‘breath hangs in the atoms between us’  yet there is the violent imagery too of

‘divided parts meeting slowly/thunderous as tectonic plates’.

The dizzying descent is honed and spare too – yet packs a punch. This potent poem is about the creation of identity, and a life lived fast and with fire.  The poet urges

Embrace

terminal velocity

enjoy it.

Kinsman’s pamphlet is experimental, highly original and risk-taking. This is a poet who peppers her work with complex and sometimes even scientific language.

In the visceral lovers with lysergic acid diethylamide, a ‘ white half moon in tin foil’ is swallowed – ‘corrupting light out’. 

The poem becomes a celebration of the immersive poetical of poetry itself – ‘ there’s nothing so ecstatic as drowning’.

The pamphlet ends with a poem entitled disappearance of the poet – its broken lines evoking a fragmentation which makes it impossible to read without feeling breathless.

The poems begins with the line

 ‘ there is no precedent in this tongue

for unbecoming’

and is again, a recognition of the poet as one who bears testimony, even at the risk to the self.

‘ and poet

disintegrates

     into witness’ .

 

An electrifying pamphlet by an exciting new voice in poetry.

 

 
Order your copy of & by Amy Kinsman here: https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/amy-kinsman/4594216097

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