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How the World Works
Noam Chomsky
The English Auden: Poems, Essays and Dramatic Writings, 1927-1939
W.H. Auden
Auden Generation: Literature and Politics in England in the 1930's
Samuel Hynes
Collected Poems
W.H. Auden

Birmingham Roller

Birmingham Roller - Liz Berry A poetry book that I cannot put down but read in a single day from cover to cover. Yes there have been a few and not more. The topics covered in its 42 poems include many that are amusing, as with "when you bought me a milk pan for Christmas," or the fantasy of her day in red dancing shoes. I loved the idea that she might become patron saint of school girls, making possible an "unforeseen triumph in the hockey final." I enjoyed her imagery, as in Christmas Eve, when "the tower blocks are advent calendars,/ every curtain pulled to reveal a snow blurred face." Other poems are poignant, as with the perennial family dispute as to why the girl must always wear sensible black shoes. There is a magical strand to the poems: "That year, with men turning thirty / still refusing to fly the nest, / we married birds instead." And I suppose this has to be a female poet, since she writes of "minds unravelling / like unfinished knitting" and poems of love towards an unborn child. The frequent use of local dialect is never strained and makes its own valid point. Despite the clear Christian context to many poems, I have the notion in my mind of a tough, pagan poet, with traditional values rooted in the earth of her own particular locality. Rooted and also "grounded." This seems to me a very sane and balanced poet. What an impressive and pleasing first collection. Her next book will also be brilliant - I already know this.