This debut volume by a young Scottish journalist finds power in objectification. Though Ferguson pens poem after poem in...

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AIR FOR SLEEPING FISH

This debut volume by a young Scottish journalist finds power in objectification. Though Ferguson pens poem after poem in which hearts bleed, nothing actually pulsates: love, grief, and fear are held up to sharp scrutiny in short, economical lines, with precise imagery, and controlled lyricism. There's nothing sentimental in poems such as ""Bad News,"" which compares a lover's escape to a slippery fish, nor in the midwinter love of ""Winter Sunflowers,"" and especially not in ""I Do Not Cry Like I Used To,"" in which the poet imagines herself a dried-up riverbed. Ferguson's thumping syllabics, with her heavy consonance and compound adjectives, lend her a full-throated sound, as she details braises, stones, and bones. Her sense of the seasons and their flora is never pastoral; her relentlessly bleak landscapes find release in spring's riot of color (""Outdoor Artist""). ""The Day You Stopped Calling Me Darling"" typifies her attitude to ""two-faced"" love with its ""mad topography,"" and its silences that cut like knives. So terse that her poems sometimes sacrifice meaning, Ferguson nevertheless reveals herself slantwise, and thereby deserves attention.

Pub Date: July 19, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Bloodaxe--dist. by Dufour

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998