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Pauline Stainer is a poet "working at the margins of the sacred", conveying sensations with an economy of means that is breathtaking. In this, her fifth collection, Stainer evokes the spareness and luminosity of the land and seascapes of the Orkneys in poems which inhabit an imaginative borderland, inspired by her "visceral Muse".
Paperback, 94 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Bloodaxe Books
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What I ought to like most about this collection — the words and ideas linking one poem to the next — instead seems to sap its strength and intensity. An eye-catching, ear-pleasing turn of phrase in "Harbour and Room" feels unexpectedly, well, unsubtle when it reappears a page later, tossing lustrous hair over its shoulder, hand on hip, awaiting a reaction. (This was particularly disappointing; as a historian of alchemy I was predisposed to love "Thomas Vaughan experiments with mercury.") Next, " ...more