The School of Night
by Anne Rouse
This is a wonderful collection and our first poet for www.bookgroup.info.
Dusk, Midnight, Small Hours and Mornings. The poems are grouped by passage of time. Connections are made between thoughts and ideas such as the effects of light and passing time.
So many connections are made in Anne Rouse's poems, so many lines of thought which draw together and link up, the reader is taken on a labrynthine journey via many times and places, with loosely connected ideas creating a path or stepping stone for the reader to follow. Patterns emerge between the words - not exactly wordplay, but a sort of satisfying reason for things, explanations. The imagery is powerful and the language sure and accomplished.
Recurrent themes are observation and experience. Experience of place is of great importance as many of Anne's poems take the reader very rapidly and specifically to known locations and Anne is passionate about London.
Emotions emerge, not raw, not upsetting - rather unsettling and needling, as if under the skin. The reader is not shut out, but intrigued and drawn closer to the heart of the poem. Even when poverty and loss of hope are evoked, the reader is not left with a bleak hopelessness but rather a greater understanding of human experience common to us all. Tenderness and love are not missed out. Anne does not turn away from powerful emotions and exposes very human thoughts and dilemmas.
Pace is varied. Some word repetitions act like half remembered lines from our childhood songs. Other poems rush at the reader and have to be read quickly. Some strike a chord and the reader is not quite sure where from - but connecting these poems together is Anne Rouse's sharply observant eye, which does not blink or go off duty, but is constantly searching for a new scene, a new scenario.
Read our interview with Anne Rouse.