A busy time of year chez nous. And I am not blogging much, more's the pity.
However I do have a review of Josephine Rowe's new story collection from UQP, Tarcutta Wake, up at The Ember. Here is a taster:
I think when Josephine Rowe is older, we will be approaching these early collections as extended prose poems, reaching into each other. Reflecting on her second collection of stories, How A Moth Becomes A Boat, words like ‘painterly’, ‘highly visual’, and ‘cinematic’ spring readily to mind. Even on a repeat reading, where one is more receptive to small nuances, three stories is all it takes before you are seized once more by the urge to swallow that book whole.
Perhaps there are already academics out there sharpening their pencils at the prospect of tracking plot devices and mood shifts, shadows and shapes, as they roam through Rowe’s early works, including this latest collection, Tarcutta Wake. Rowe is that rare thing, a poet completely at home in prose which asks to be read aloud (like poetry should be). While facing down cliché, Rowe is capable of compounding an astringent and powerful vocalism from closely observed moments and often percussive sounds:
It is understood that a second key will not be cut, just as it is understood that you will not be staying long enough for it to matter. But three weeks now, most of February, and you’re wearing his clothes, smoking his cigarettes, sharing his bed and his razors. From his kitchen window you watch the freight trains thunder past, headed west. By the time you’ve eaten and dressed it will be twelve or one, hot as hell. You’ll listen to the telephones ringing out over the loudspeakers of the factories and Joe’s Storage from across the highway and, grinding your first cigarette of the day into his stainless steel sink, you will not understand why the sound of the freight trains breaks your fucking heart. ‘Stay’ - How a Moth Becomes A Boat