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I-spy and shanty cover

Kate Noakes
I-spy and shanty

US Trade, 96pp, €15, March 2014
ISBN 979-10-90394-45-2
The cover image is by dylan harris.

Kate Noakes’ poetry has always treasured vivid language, and does so here—just savour her nectar–sipping bat that ‘gigolos away the dark’. But this rich and varied new collection also strikes a new note, as quietly compact as the water–worn stones that appear in several poems, spare but alive with implications, like a whole life in wartime conveyed by ‘And now / the kissing away of two long winters. Him here.’ Philip Gross

Kate Noakes is a poet on the road, on the wing, in transit, yet rooted in place,childhood, family, love. She records detail as in a journal, gathering experience, words,traveller’s tales. A pebble is ‘a travelling spot’ that ends as ‘nothing but light’, teller of Earth’s journey. The pebble’s beginning is the poet’s beginning, a child pond–dipping, picking up stones. A memorable poem records her grandfather throwing his medals into the river on his way home from the war, as if horror could be washed away. It survives in his grand–daughter’s imagination, and in her vivid poems. Gillian Clarke