I’ve read this 4 or 5 times now, all the way through and have dabbled, countless more. I’ve no intention of reviewing this in any real way, I clearly love it.
It feels like it exists somewhere beyond and a few copies have dropped through some gap in the continuum, as if we have somehow been gifted a physics-defying way of propelling our spacecraft, we just have to settle in, read and try to catch up.
Instead of a review, here are some of my favourite lines:
of a gannet, wandering from its…nest of slovenly seaweed / hops / as far as those stones and stops / as a woman would remembering her son
As far as a man can shout across water / and his shout with blown-back wings / loses its bearings and is never heard of again / and another man can hear the crying waves / but his answer / dissolves in water like an oval of soap
how does the dawn trawler call out to the night trawler / when they pass each other on the black and white water
a kind of stupefied rain / slumps over the water like a teenager
There was once a stubborn man / searching the earth for the guillemot that speaks / who came at last to the breakneck cliffs and paused / a sleek bird studied him him as if to say / you must be that southerner / fated to die of fright if I speak
Oswald apparently believes that the poems are already out there in the ether and that we simply have to find a way of hearing / locating them and then transcribe what we find. I don’t know about that as a theory, it seems to negate the work of the poet, but however it is that she comes across the words she puts down, they are otherworldly and arranged in a way that no one else would manage. There is a beauty in that which makes her unique.