Later there will be Postcards
(Green Bottle Press)
This engaging collection benefits from close reading and re-reading. Be prepared for subtle shifts of meaning, for playfulness and seriousness mingling. Be prepared for the magical and quotidien interweaving.
It’s rare to come across a new poet who not only has a confident voice, but more importantly, a sensibility that tackles childhood, the passage of time, ageing, death and a strong eye for the natural world. Such big themes are handled with wit, originality and insight.
Claire Booker’s poetry is often wickedly funny but equally she can write biting satirical poems and subtly powerful poems of loss and anguish. Claire’s interest in visual art feeds into her poetry, and her poems are rich in telling details and striking colour and imagery. Dreams provide surreal and dark material, as evidenced by the opening poem The Night Mare. There are no ‘filler’ poems here; this is a substantial pamphlet, the work of a mature poet, who knows when to wield her wit and when to let the gaps – the unsaid – say it.
Later There Will Be Postcards holds the human drama at its heart. Booker’s poems are immediately engaging. They explore how we express ourselves – what is said, what is left unsaid, and what is simmering beneath the surface. Whether the protagonists are would-be miss-matched lovers walking their dogs on a windswept beach; or a jaded couple reigniting the spark of love as they re-visit an old haunt, the reader is drawn into atmospheric dramas that play out beyond the page.
Claire Booker’s debut pamphlet shows great muscularity of language and a lovely play of wit.
Most of the poems here are in conventional free verse forms, the perspective (of age) lending distance to the emotions recounted. The poems are on occasion subterranean, on others benign enough to bring a smile, Model in Love especially. In On Hearing the Bell Again at Chichilianne, a childhood incident recollected, form is perfectly matched to content.
A slow forge of hands created these poems – they are wholly human, clear-eyed, seeing further than the purview from Booker’s Brighton Window where the Isle of Wight