Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Verse letter to Shanta Everington – 'Drowning in Cherryade', a Chapbook of Poems reviewed by Richard Dillon

We haven't met, in the narrow 'how d'you do'
sense (a teaser: can you think of who
I stole that from?); we know each other's names
from work (oh, that would be Clive James).
So, having volunteered, the penny's dropped:
that when your little Chapbook gently plopped
into our house a privilege unfurled -
a chance to journey through another's world!
For which, my thanks are due, as lesser things
to start, the book's design-imaginings
are wonderful: its cherry cover, its font,
its size, the sense it's as you want.
But what we write is where we stand and fall,
a page of white an inner-city wall:
I mean, your setting has an urban feel
(of shops, of things, of cafés, fashion-spiel,
etcetera), and though I recognise
such streets from once-upon , to these old eyes
they're just the seeds that zest the oil,
and not enough to mean a meal will spoil.
What draws me in, your writing's verity,
is what I feel when catching memory
like this: 'I wish I could reach in...' -
the photograph motif, the friends, the kin,
the you of then, of then, incarnate then;
the cheek we stroke, never mind 'again'.
There's more. The livid lot between what is
and was is represented here by fizz,
or lollipops, or pink, and how such fluff
translates to, frankly, sanguinary stuff
is hard to say, but in the portal shift,
the violence in someone random's gift,
the psycho-vigilance we navigate when young,
the hair, the lips, the sharpening of tongues,
are in our lives the way they're in the air,
local habitations, present fare.

In short, I like your book, would recommend
its sweet intensities to writer, friend
and all with eyes to see and mouths to speak
who love a witting phrase and pared technique.

I have a review copy of the book - if you want to read it, just ask.  Shanta's website is at


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