Review: 2019 Laureate’s Choice
Yvonne Reddick, Spikenard (smithdoorstop, 2019)
Karen Smith, Schist (smithdoorstop, 2019)
Louise G. Cole, Soft Touch (smithdoorstop, 2019)
Greg Gilbert, Love Makes a Mess of Dying (smithdoorstop, 2019)
The Poetry Business work in collaboration with the Poet Laureate to produce an annual pamphlet collection from a quartet of poets. For 2019, Carol Ann Duffy was impressed with Yvonne Reddick, Karen Smith, Louise G. Cole and Greg Gilbert. Each pamphlet illustrates why the respective poet was selected; a mix of love, loss, violence and mental illness amidst a backdrop of land, sea and domesticity.
A previous contributor to Stand, Yvonne Reddick has undoubtedly made her mark on the world of poetry. In 2016 she received a Northern Writers award; she won the Mslexia Women’s Poetry Pamphlet Prize in 2017 and a Creative Futures Literary Award in 2018. Her 2017 pamphlet Translating Mountains (Seren Books) is full of atmospheric and poignant tales of the world in and beyond the mountains, particularly the death of two mountaineers. In Spikenard, Reddick sustains her idiomatic language, presenting majestic imagery of nature and taking the reader on a journey through forests and life: from the Fjords in ‘Light, Sweet Crude’ to Valais Woods in ‘La Pive’. Reddick shifts between couplets and stanzas, creating a sense of balance to the wild content of her poems. She elegantly alternates between moments of carnal desire (‘oh, I could ride you for miles in one night, unbitted’) and moments of disconnecting violence (‘you twisted the neck, it lay abruptly silent’). What Reddick captures in this ...
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