Knowing Your Budgie. "City and Stranger" by Aileen Kelly, "In Your Absence: Poems 1994 - 2002" by Stephen McInerney and "Flying Blind" by Deborah Westbury. [review]
This is Kelly's second book after her prizewinning "Coming up for Light" (1994). The poetry seems more complex, more ambitious, no less poised and measured, but less convinced of William Carlos Williams's troublesome dictum, 'No ideas but in things!' There are ideas here, and many things, but mostly there is the intimate care Kelly takes with language. Deborah Westbury's fourth book is fast, terse and intense, and heated by the surrealism of the everyday. Just as Elizabeth Bishop gave up on European surrealism because, she said, she found enough strangeness on her own street, Westbury's poetry is down-to-earth in its strangeness. "In Your Absence", Stephen McInerney's first book of poetry, carries endorsements from Les Murray and Robert Gray on the back cover. While Kelly can dazzle and seduce with intellectual risks and the physicality of her imagery, and Westbury brings her determined gaze and intelligent ear to what's going on around us, McInerney shares some of his rambling thoughts or makes gentle prods at insight or memory.