Friday, October 19, 2012

Review–Public Property, Andrew Motion

I’m uneasy labelling this blog a review. Its harder than I thought it would be  to cast a glance over the width of poetry in Motion’s  collection. I’ve made it harder still as its taken me two months to read every poem in the book. A poem a day, that was my intention. I’ve not strayed too far from that, and I made some notes, annotations really, sometimes a few lines of  mine on a facing page.

But what of the poems, well, many are ‘in memory’, mostly these are personal, hence I guess the title –publication means they are now public property But there are also poems about.people who have been as people, public property –rather dutiful poems, hardly surprising in a collection by a Poet Laureate.  The personal also penetrates poems of childhood, of remembering, and of moments in the present.

Overall, I’ll remember this collection for the way Motion has of picking a moment, an event that is hardly there and examining it with his keen eye, ear and exaggerated sense of detail. A lot of water is put under his poetic microscope in this way, and a fox and, again, and again, and retrospectively, people.

Finally, the poem I went back to more than once is  ‘What is Given’ – crafted to show control, disintegration, a return of a sort. An engaging use of form and words makes this poem memorable –and every poetry collection needs its memorable poem.

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