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Poetry Competitions UK
08 Aug 2012

'Ten Thoughts About Love' reviewed by Kaleem Raja

The slimness of this volume belies the extraordinary power encased within the covers.

Ross's verse is technically brilliant, emotionally beguiling and at times startling.

The poems show the hallmarks of an experienced and adroit writer who effortlessly demonstrates the far reaching things language can do across the small span of 10 poems.
The language, when Ross chooses to charm her readers, is achingly beautiful ('In the amber of late October', 'May the blessing of the soft rains be on your house') and at other times, delivers a shocking punch ('those harsh, embittered words you said, the love they slapped away').

In the triptych poem 'Salema Moods', Ross demonstrates her range and mastery of language. The first part 'Ocean Pulse' brilliantly mimics the welter of the protean waters through choppy rhythm and a bombastic bombardment of words ('Rising, curling, foam unfurling'); the second part enters into a lilting, dream-like internal monologue'; and in the last of the trilogy, the language is clipped and lucid.

In 'Surfacing' Ross puts to great use the extended metaphor of troubled waters, drowning and saving a sinking relationship. In 'Spinning Still' extraordinary line breaks spark the subject and meaning alive and contort language into unexpected cadences.

Great lines and turns of phrases abound ('I've been here before but now I'm here for healing', 'my strange need to go too deep', 'knowing how it came to end is how mine must begin') and Ross's intelligent word play at times is tremendous (''Thou Shalt Nots' ruled their days and ours').

The words are carefully selected and the sounds they engender meticulously composed through sound juxtapositions. There are fewer better examples of masterfully crafted poetry than the last one in the volume, 'A Reply & An Answer' in which the two verses mirror one another in imagery, words, sounds and structure.

A powerhouse of a poetry collection.

By Kaleem Raja

 

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