Review: This Changes Things – Claire Askew.

I start my usual ramblings on poetry with a disclaimer that poetry is not something I read very often, and also not something I read very naturally. So, when I like poems, I think their level of impressiveness must be a few notches higher to have gotten through to me, a mere rookie who often looks at classics with a quizzical expression.

Partly striking by timing in my life, but also the general feel as Claire navigates remembering family, loss and the like, there were frequent times when I sat remembering my own family who I hadn’t thought about in years. Death hangs on many of the lines but never treads the same route twice. As she moves onto broader topics of life – perceptions of women, unchecked privilege – I just found myself whizzing through it all, and stopping only because I’d got lost in my own thread of thought from something she’d said that sparked something in my mind.

Claire is just super, and while I can’t delve into the technical details of it all, enjoyment is the most important thing, and here I am having spent a nice little early afternoon in these pages. If I may pinch one of her lines (which I am going to do either way) to sum up me reading her poems, This Changes Things: “You are unfamiliar and magnificent.”

January 2016 | Bloodaxe Books

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