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Hannah Sullivan


Autumn Berries

In a previous post I mentioned Us, the book of poetry recently published by Zaffar Kunial. Of course, Amazon immediately recommended another two or three books and I decided to buy Three Poems by Hannah Sullivan. I've read the first two and find them fascinating, particularly the exploration of 'form' in Repeat until Time: The Heraclitus Poem.


When things are patternless, their fascination's stronger.

Failed form is hectic with loveliness, and compels us longer.


I hope you can see why I chose my image for the day: a deliberately out-of-focus shot of autumn berries I encountered on a recent walk.


Three Poems made me reflect on my own passion for rhyme. I find it comforting and protective; it gives me a sense of completeness. At the same time, it reveals an insecurity, a desire to have things sorted out, tidied up, polished. I fear that I fall into Hannah Sullivan's category of "dubious rhyming poet" but without the distinction of being Percy Bysshe Shelley, to whom she applies the term.


Her own use of form is breathtaking, including line-lengths which you fear will break under their own weight and half-rhymes to unsettle cosy patterns of thought. There isn't the scope in a brief blog to take this any further but I feel that discomfort and challenge which poetry rarely brings. It's a book I shall treasure - but not sentimentally, I promise!


All images and texts are subject to copyright 2018

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