Insisting on Yellow
|This book includes 35 pages of new poems
and work from my earlier collections which were published between 1984 and
1998. The section of new poetry includes explorations of the need for love,
waking and dream visions and series of poems featuring parts of the body.
A longer poem is a response to talk by Esther Brunstein, a concentration camp survivor:
I try to write down
your story but words
of suffering or the
sense of touch
|My writing is visual and accessible. It often makes use of narrative. Certain themes recur, treated in different ways. I think the strongest of these is finding a voice:|
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Years on it was hard
to feel adult,
|Another approach to this subject is my long narrative poem about Caedmon, the Anglo-Saxon poet who believed he had no skill at all with words until he had a dream in which he was told to make up a poem about the creation.|
I often write about self-discovery and relationships. When I write
about other people I find I want to present them in context and not just
from my viewpoint. This is the end of a poem I wrote about my father after
|Disablement is another theme I've tackled in different ways. I taught communication and literacy to severely disabled adults for 25 years. One or two of my students reached adulthood with little or no formal means to communicate and I've written in particular about deafness and language:|
took four words from a box
'man', 'woman', 'eat', 'walk',
signed them with my fingers.
Week after week he squeezed
the shapes into air, slotted
the finicky sets of letters
into place, crawled them over a page.
At last they hooked to his memory.
Exulting, he flung each out,
an exotic kite to fly in the blue dazzle.
|I grew up during World War Two, aware of being English and Jewish in a small town on the West coast of Scotland. My husband was a refugee. War and World War Two crop up in my poetry, also later wars. My poem: 'Pigeons,' which relates to the war in Bosnia was recorded by the BBC for their 'Poetry Please' audio tape of war poems. It is one of the four poems they included which relate to contemporary times.|
|My poems often use place as a starting point and have reference to nature. My writing is spiritual, sometimes visionary. Here is part of 'Considering The Lilies'. The jumping off ground for this poem was an extraordinary walk on the island of Madeira.|
has passed out of sight when we
see the wild lilies
in their hundreds on the valley floor:
a fanfare of cool creamy bells,
their clappers, orange dots
that subdue long grasses and leafery.
Quiet unfolds its cloth.
These are the lilies of the field,
an array that surpasses Solomon's glory.
In the brightness
I suddenly see Stanley Spencer's Christ,
a fat simple man, loose shirt billowing,
gentle face transfigured by wonder
as on hands, knees
he contemplates small daisies.
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