Monday, June 14, 2010


There were some great comments to help find new poetry, after my last post about it (here), and here's another book to try...

Bodywork by Dilys Rose.

Thanks to Catherine Smith for this recommendation, because although I came across Dilys Rose's work when I was living in Edinburgh (she's a fantastic short story writer too), I hadn't heard of this collection.

The poems here all focus on the human body, and many are fresh takes on particular, very particular, illnesses - Baker's Itch, Mat Hatter Syndrome, Beethoven's Ear, Grace Darling's Lungs, Weaver's Bottom, Clergyman's Throat, Sailmaker's Palm (all of which have notes at the end to explain more. Weaver's Bottom for example is a form of bursitis, often caused by long hours of sedentary work. Shouldn't that be Writer's Bottom?)

But through a series of persona poems, absolutely perfectly drawn, often with real humour but never cruel, a whole world is created, both real and imaginary. It's like reading a mix of Jane Austin and Neil Gaiman. Perfect!

Here are some of my favourite lines:

her name was whatever you fancied
her eyebrows a twin-peaked cliche
her mouth was a magnet
her tongue swung between sweet chariot and Uzi
her throat was a tool of the trade

(from Obituary)


Hers isn't a bit like those she's seen
in grand old paintings of her namesake -
all pale and quivery on a plate
like junket or blancmange;
a sweet treat at the end of a feast.

(from Aggie's Boob)

And here's one of the poems from the Collection, and another here.



Catherine said...

I have Writers' Bottom. But I'm not sending a photo.