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Cover of Darkness

Selected Poems, 1961-98

By (author) Libby Houston
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Libby Houston, Bristol, United Kingdom
Published: 30th Sep 1999
Dimensions: w 148mm h 224mm d 12mm
Weight: 249g
ISBN-10: 1871033543
ISBN-13: 9781871033540
Barcode No: 9781871033540

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Kirkus US
Houstons verses differ in style and length, from succinct short poems to long personal narratives and ballads. Throughout this welter of diversity, however, Houstons voice remains distinctively her own. Often the sheer pleasure of playing with language is evident, as in the short poem, The Same: Five white petals, flower with a gold eye / riding the dark stream; on the bank nearby / the fisherman who cannot wait / reels in his line and eats the bait. Other short poems, such as Scales, contain koan-like innuendoes (I came in from the garden / that moon, it was not hidden / and all I had was taken, / or all I had was given.) In some of the longer poems, Houston reworks legend and ballad with some startling twists. In The Ant and the Grasshopper, for instance, the fables moral is turned around more than once. The grasshopper is welcomed into the ants abode, rather than turned away, but the poems ending is mysterious: So into that frenzied darkness, the close clay, / the grasshopper dragged the shapeless weight of his heart, door fast on the day; / and the wild executor of the years / unalterable will still laughing. See his tears. The 17 poems in the final section (198998) are perhaps the most personal in the book, blending journeys, places, and relationships. Underlying many of them is a deep sense of loss: Dead brown wet brackens / ruined rafters grid the path / each step I take breaks.Houstons artistry is evident throughout the body of her work. Often enigmatic, her poetry demands intellectual engagement on the part of the readera small price to pay for so many riches. (Kirkus Reviews)