Monday, March 19, 2018


COLIN LEE MARSHALL Presents Revicules of

Meat by Sophie Seita
(Little Red Leaves, 2015)


Sublunar by Tom Jenks
(Oystercatcher Press, 2016)


In Accident & Emergence by Rosa van Hensbergen
(Veer, 2015)

Meat, Sophie Seita (Little Red Leaves, 2015)

Sophie Seita’s Meat is discomfitingly manifold in its fleshiness. Throughout, there is much covalent bonding, a thickening of letter and word and phrase. On the first page, we encounter “cannot”, “address”, “odourless”, “vagueness”, “appearances”, “keeps”, “buff”, “feet”, “booting”, “looser”, “look” and “glass” (my bold).  This ‘meatiness’ is enchanced by the opening lines, the sizzling sibilance of which lends culinary presence to the elusive referent: “I cannot address it / odourless in its vagueness / it changes beyond appearances / the specificity of typology is owned”. However toothsome the poetry, it is also tough and fibrous, stretching out the moment of mastication and refusing to proffer any easy emollients. Lines such as “mmh, medium, medium, well done, well done” and “why is the rare more attractive than the common” seem to ooze emetic blood from their dissimulated skin. Necessary, chastening reading.

Sublunar, Tom Jenks (Oystercatcher Press, 2016)

This short pamphlet is indeed winningly “sublunar”. The first poem opens thus: “all is calm behind the shields / in Kettering, home of the Weetabix / in the marbled halls of Pets at Home / in Shropshire’s best kept station”. The prosody here demands attention. But for its catalexis, the first line is perfectly trochaic. The third follows the same structure, adding a disyllabic anacrusis. The fourth can also be made to adhere to this pattern, provided that we are loose with our scansion of “best kept” and read “station” with an affectedly humorous extra syllable. The second line, however, is a prosodic renegade, its comma-interrupted dactyls dislocating the metrical integrity. These deft hits and misses are characteristic of Sublunar, a book whose flights of selenic poesie always give way to more terrene pleasures such as “Betamax”, “Subbuteo”, and “Quorn Sausages”. Winsome terrestrial poems written in the albedo of profundity.   

In Accident & Emergence, Rosa van Hensbergen (Veer, 2015)

In Accident & Emergence seethes with fire and igneous paraphernalia—“flames”, “andirons”, “pyrospheres”, “acidum pingue”, “1666”, etc. The text’s figurations become annealed in the heat of this proximity. We see “love hotels inflamed”, “blazons eidetic”, and “want for the prick that burned you”. This ignivagant sweep engulfs various antique and modern domains, opening the text’s sites of conflagration and combustion to a range of social and historical potentialities. Later, things will take more of an aqueous turn, following the imperatives “grow hydric” and “go Hydra”. Whether fire or water be the cause of the damage, though, it is necessary in each case to “Ascertain the bodies in surround, the proximate exits, the / probable evacuation time”. We must consider what is proper to each node, and what is accidental to it. Our conclusions, one hopes, will demand of us some kind of triage in the service of new emergences.         

Note: "revicule" is the author's jocular, ill-formed diminutive for a review of 150 words or fewer. The three revicules posted here follow on from the original seven published in the inaugural issue of Erotoplasty.


Colin Lee Marshall's poetry and reviews have appeared in various places online and in print. He edits the poetry zine Erotoplasty.