Playing House, the debut collection of poetry from Katherine Stansfield, features a concise wit, a distinct voice, and an unsettling view of the domestic with ordinary subjects viewed through the author’s satirical yet sympathetic eye. John Lennon’s tooth, an imaginary Canada, bees in Rhode Island, and office politics are all peculiar grist to this author’s mill. She presePlaying House, the debut collection of poetry from Katherine Stansfield, features a concise wit, a distinct voice, and an unsettling view of the domestic with ordinary subjects viewed through the author’s satirical yet sympathetic eye. John Lennon’s tooth, an imaginary Canada, bees in Rhode Island, and office politics are all peculiar grist to this author’s mill. She presents both historical subjects, such as Captain Scott of the Antarctic, and common objects, such as household bleach, with a skewed perspective, adding humor, drama, and a quietly distinctive pathos.‘Striking imagery, strange leaps of thought, wit and menace aside, the unmistakeable thrill of Katherine Stansfield’s poetry is in the voice. It addresses the world directly, takes it personally, and comes at the reader from constantly unexpected angles, a tangible, physical thing.’ – Philip Gross‘Tightly-wrought and multi-layered, Katherine Stansfield's poems are a wonderful alchemy, touching on a range of experiences, each one lit with rhythm and wordplay, from the "laminated skin" of the library card to the hymn to bleach.’ – Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch ‘...
|Number of Pages||:||72 Pages|
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Playing House Reviews
Ms Stansfield's poems are an absolute delight to read. Each one a glimpsed moment, captured, caught out from the kaleidoscope of colours and movement that pass the rest of us by in our ever busier lives; the lines shot through with grace and elegance, bringing beauty into words and phrases that cannot ever be forgotten. Moments welling up from the deepest of consciousness, held, cherished. Ennobled. The second-last line of my favourite poem 'Ghazal from John' sums up the aching grandeur of her breathless inner world. 'Poems bloom in allotments and travel the memory of leeches.'
Such a charming, funny, wry collection. I loved it.
It can be quite hard to quantify poetry.Books, stories, or prose tells us stories or relates facts to us; art reaches us via imagery, and music via our ears.But poetry? It does a bit of all of these- it tells us stories, it paints images in our mind's eye, and it can charm us with it's musical rhythms. But it can also be very hit or miss. One man's poetic pleasure can be another's pancake - flat, but without the zesty or the juicy bits....not very good, doesn't really work, a bit like that sad attempt at a simile. And in any given anthology of poetry, you'll be lucky if a few of offerings capture your fancy, whilst you can guarantee that a few of the verses really will get you quite cross.And that's precisely what this collection of poetry by Katherine Stansfield does for me. There are some really outstanding poems here. Three or four of the early offerings really hit the mark. It was almost like the Ryder Cup golf captain who puts a lot of his star players out early, I an attempt to win some quick points. "Training event" is a simply presented observation that will resonate with anyone who's ever had a rather poor learning experience- so that won't discount many people - and her point is forthrightly made, and raises a knowing chuckle on every reading. In "Africa on BBC One" the schadenfreude of the early part of the poem is turned deliciously - or to be precise, quite un- deliciously- on to our narrator. Again, simple observations on life pithily put. The style changes completely - as it does throughout the book- for "the woman on my National Library of Wales card" (you know she's onto a winner here with the title alone) where she uses extended metaphor to colour her canvass, and then the next poem, written to her cat camped by the washing machine is simply brilliantly simple.And then the collection for me dips a bit, though it does soar time and again throughout the book, even if there are a few troughs in between the peaks.But overall, there are more than enough highlights in this collection to make it a satisfying read. And maybe the biggest test of a poem, or an anthology of poetry.. How many do geared pages did you leave behind to remind yourself that you must revisit certain poems? More than a dozen for me in this book - and that's a pretty impressive result really, isn't it?