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Review of 'Poetic Desire' by Jackie Hutchinson

This collection of poetry, compiled in 2017, was inspired by many things. In Jackie’s own words, by ‘social issues in society, my identity, and childhood memories… countryside walking and gardening’. It comprises 13 free verse poems, 10 sonnets, 3 shape poems, 2 structured poems and one each of cinquain and sestina poems. As often happens to me, despite being a very word-oriented person, I was immediately drawn to the pictorial form of the shape poems – one inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and another called ‘The Dance Class’. Personally, I’ve never been any good at this particular art form so I enjoyed these two works very much – ‘porcelain fingers poise with dignity’ and ‘helter-skelter she goes under the indigo waves…’ were two lines I particularly enjoyed. Jackie’s work is quite traditional in style, and romantic/pastoral in feel, as I’m sure was intentional in a work bearing such a collective title. Many of Jackie’s best words seem to arise when she seeks inspiration within the natural world, especially when imagining the supernatural goings-on of goblins and trolls, for example in ‘Behind the Mask of Darkness’. Or the fairies and dragonflies in ‘In the Magical Land of Make Believe’ or in ‘Fairies’ Illuminating Presence’. I particularly enjoy how, in the latter poem, Jackie describes the natural world as being the illumination of fairies. It could have been twee. But it wasn’t. It just seemed right. Near to the back of this little book, ‘God’s Own Garden’ about the Yorkshire Dales, is a lovely evocative piece, and ‘Flirtatious Delights’ is almost a brainstorm about garden elements. Consider ‘Gnarled apple tree, Entwined with honeysuckle, Buttermilk and raspberry hues; Grandma’s favourite, Cottage ambience’. There’s something very sweet and delicate about poems such as these. But don’t be mistaken into thinking that’s all there is in this book. There are also some darker works – I particularly enjoyed the style of ‘Spirits’ and the first stanza – ‘Jackdaw perches on fence post, its ebony eyes, glint in the moonlight;’ is nothing fancy and in fact is quite simply written, but it sets the pace for the knobbly fingers of witch hazel, the glutinous mud and frenzied splashing which appear later. A very readable volume, full of positivity and delight!

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