“The Wanting of the World”
Common Ground D A Prince (Happenstance hardback £12)
Pirate Music Miriam Gamble (Bloodaxe £9.95)
Species Mark Burnhope (Nine Arches £8.99)
D A Prince is an independent writer, building up over 20 years to a second full collection with the rare accolade of being published in hardback. There is a list of acknowledgements to magazines but, unlike the other poets I’m reviewing, no indication of poetry courses or degrees taken or list of poets thanked for advice. One senses a poet working alone, building up a collection patiently, sending poems to magazines, tolerating rejections and re-sending, building up a reputation until accepted by a press, in this case the excellent Happenstance. Nell Nelson refers to Prince’s “understated style, careful wit and joy in precise phrasing” which is fair enough as a blurb though not all the poems show “precise phrasing” throughout.
Prince’s poems are typically based on events from life. They are often strongest when she allows a mordant sense of humour to appear. Everything I knew about is a witty account of learning wallpapering from a 1970s play, knitting instructions from a sister’s postcard and
Laying bricks from a novel by Solzhenitsyn (though I’ve never put that into practice) unlike sex, from so many novels the library shelves are exhausted…