Bensley, Connie: Finding A Leg to Stand On: New and Selected Poems

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Bensley, Connie

Finding A Leg To Stand On: New and Selected Poems

Bloodaxe, 2012, pp192, 10.95 [pounds sterling]

978 1 85224 956 4

There are many surprises in this excellent anthology drawn from six collections written between 1981 and 2007 and completed by 35 new poems. The poetry is clear, sharp and concise, few poems being longer than one side of a page, and the whole peppered with occasional haikus or epigrammatical pieces: 'Advice--so kindly meant, so freely given--so often wrong'. This pithy quality pervades much of the verse, and is very effective: animals which 'falter and fall' during the culling of deer 'need not apply to rise', for example, and the conclusion of 'Metropolitan': 'That's love. You stack the loss against the gain'. It is, on the whole, suburban in setting, and a recurring image is that of the commuter, travelling home through unprepossessing, detritus-littered landscapes to 'get to my garden, build a waterfall', or, in one of the poet's brilliant self-contained stories, 'Confession', tell long-kept secrets to a stranger. …