by Linda Saunders
21st November 2009
£10.00 post free in UK.
‘Listening at the crack between words / and their meaning...’ In The Watchers, Linda Saunders is the bird-watcher whiskering ‘the short waves of the wood’. She is a child exploring the ‘upside otherworld’ of a hand-held mirror, the paleontologist blowing ‘light / into the dark sockets of the eyes’.
Aware of life as ‘a dash between dates’, she also senses the long perspective of geological time in which the present moment is balanced. She is alert for signs of love and human connection across distances of space and time.
Linda Saunders’s previous book from Arrowhead, Ways of Returning, was shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.
These poems are beautifully structured, evocative and tender, with such a strong feel for the brilliance of each minute inside passing time. They have a rare quality of unforced grace... ‘white / spun from luminous conversions of matter and light’ – that’s what you want from poetry.
What these poems by Linda Saunders apprehend appears chiefly in the visual but moves beyond to the premonitory, to the sense of breaking apart and through, by way of various glimpsed intensities and, just as frequent, vanishings. The voice is quiet and even but precise, and when it makes contact with the important substratum, the core of the poem that lies beneath the details of the narrative surface, it becomes suddenly sharper still, like a moment of pain with a kind of thrill that opens up the poem. Between 'the visible and invisible', as one poem has it, there exists the state of inhabiting something beyond the temporal, but it's not a foggy mysticism that is being offered here: it is human experience, patience seeking light.
Copyright © 2009 Arrowhead Press
Last modified: 9 February 2013