Book Review: By Leaves Entwined
Can the political be poetical? Once in the day, Penguin Books responded with ‘The Penguin Book of Socialist Verse’, offering poems from all corners of the globe. 'By Leaves Entwined' is a poetry collection that is both personal and often political in its content.
Gordon Peters is a well-travelled poet with political views he gives rein to in a collection that covers numerous topics as well as places.
‘By Leaves Entwined’ travels from Scotland to India via places in between, some real, some more in the poet’s imagination, all of them having some interest or insight to offer.
Snapshots of Smolensk and Moscow give way to thoughts on Dhaka, Lulworth Cove and Indian cuisine as Peters moves on to more substantial pieces that look at the absurdity of bureaucratic policy-speak with a shrewd of jaundiced eye.
‘Capacity Building’ and ‘Ah’m a persistent offender’ are a pair of bright satiric gems shedding their own particular lights on our ‘problem society’, while ‘Life’s Full Circle’ offers its own quirky comment on the ageing process.
Yet one of the most successful items in this collection is the seemingly-simple ‘Ode to the M8’, where ‘Paraffin Young’s pink slag-heaps are sloped in sundrenched / Unabashment … And the bold Campsies broadcast / Their curving air to Kirk O Shotts’.
Lines such as these indicate what capacity Peters has to build convincing word-pictures that stay in the mind and help to build it.
There’s much to enjoy in this eclectic collection of poems, attractively produced by Jaggnath and strikingly illustrated by Sandra de Matos.
If there is any criticism one could make of Peters’ work, it is that sometimes the poetry presented here is sometimes too personal; with one or two poems – ‘For He Who Was Not To Be’, for example, reading feels an intrusion that needs some more exposition from the poet. This comment, however, ought not to detract from how genuinely accessible the balance of the collection actually is.The great variety of poetry here, which draws from an active and well-lived series of experiences, offers the reader both much to enjoy and to reflect on.
By Leaves Entwined - poems by Gordon Peters illustrated by Sandra de Matos
Jaggnath ISBN 978-0-9564030-2-5 £4.00
available from; 262a Alexandra Park Road, London N22 7BG or by contacting; firstname.lastname@example.org