Naming The Tree-Simon Richey-A Review by Roland Gurney



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.

Simon Richey


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!


Roland Gurney.

The reviewer is an award-winning and much-published poet based at

Mulfra, Newmill just outside Penzance.

Oversteps Books are to be found at


















By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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