Lachlan Mackinnon, Doves (Faber & Faber, 2017)
Kathryn Daszkiewicz, A Book of Follies (Shoestring Press, 2017)
Roy Marshall, The Great Animator (Shoestring Press, 2017)
These three collections concern themselves with what Lachlan Mackinnon, in his poem ‘Doves’, views as poetry’s task: to see and depict ‘the marvellous in the ordinary’ and to celebrate the endurance that faces loss.
Mackinnon’s fifth collection, Doves, offers various perspectives on history, politics and culture, contemporary disasters and malaise. He deploys at times what Carol Rumens noted as ‘consciously casual’ syntax, perhaps because his concerns begin in the personal. Although described as ‘an uplifting account of recovery that makes no stranger of despair’ Doves foregrounds lament. So, ‘Nocturne’ suggests the poet has arrived at an age when ‘we have to start to answer / to ourselves for what we have made of life’. Yet on the big questions, as we learn at the end of ‘Jardin du Luxembourg’: ‘the coloured sails / of little boats on the pool / twitch one way then another’.
Bad luck plays a big part. Mackinnon’s observations on the obituary of singer Sir Lattimore Brown offer a desperate catalogue of disasters (which reminds you of William Bell’s line ‘If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all’). It is followed by a couple of hard luck, lost contact poems, reminiscences of friends committed to ‘live out desire’. ‘California Dreaming’ and ‘The West’ both extend the poet’s concern by embracing fear for the planet’s future (‘the ...
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