the meaning of a word,
before it becomes a word,
waits in the silence. It is as if
it has come as far as it can go
without being uttered. In a moment
it will change from one thing
into another, or its meaning
will tremble into a word,
into something barely familiar,
finding itself spoken,
finding itself understood.
Here is a review of Richley’s collection by my friend and poet Roland Gurney:-
Naming The Tree-Simon Richey-Overstep Books-48pp paperback £8
This first collection from a London-based writer(published in reputable magazines such as Magma,Acumen & Poetry Review) has mostly rural or
existential themes and curiously little sense of city life. Prose poem sequences
such as the title piece, a thirteen section on Fire and a ten section meditation on the nocturnal activities of the author’s cats loom large. This is ‘free verse’, devoid of much imagery, music, structure or rhythm- example ‘And because there was no word anymore, no sound in which/its meaning could be carried/the meaning had nowhere to go,’ rather thoughts on themes such as The Word(opening) and the Book(closing). This is poetic minimalism, much in vogue and going back to stateside influences such as WC Williams(the 6 liner The Red Wheelbarrow), Wallace Stevens and the Beats via TS Eliot’s The Wasteland and a host of contemporary imitators.
As such it will hopefully give pleasure to some but cannot be rated good value for money as some pages only have 6-9 lines on them. For not much more one can buy a 500 page Bloodaxe anthology of exceptional quality and offering a whole range of poetic experiences!
The reviewer is an award-winning and much-published poet based at
Mulfra, Newmill just outside Penzance.
Oversteps Books are to be found at http://www.overstepsbooks.com/events/2653/