Fiona Moore’s “The Distal Point” is segmented into three reasonably discrete section: personal mourning, what might be loosely termed ‘the political’, and ‘the rest’. Finding it difficult to cope with too many back-to-back pieces on the same theme – and especially those whose subject matter is deeply personal (I’m really struggling with Hughes’ “Birthday Letters”!) – it is perhaps not surprising that my favourite poems here tend to be in that final, eclectic third.
The overall volume is also eclectic in terms of style too. For me, the poems that are the most successful are those that are perhaps slightly more spare, linguistically taut. Where the words work well, the most successful and ‘poetic’ images simply punch through the text. Occasionally, however, a small number stray into the prosaic, and I find myself struggling to find a voice in my head lyrical enough to read them as poetry.
In my experience – both as a reader and, more painfully, as a writer – such incidents represent a line inevitably crossed from time-to-time. In that context I judge because I recognise it in myself, not because I claim to never do so!