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Floodmeadow by Toby Martinez de las Rivas

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The Floodmeadow draws us into a seething pastoral where lightning threatens and thunder gathers, pylons and powerlines hum, and steel-framed gates sing out into the wind. In these incantatory pieces, everything is present at once. The landscape, teetering on apocalypse, is characterised by collision and disintegration.

Among fragments of memory and history are meticulously journaled observations of the natural world: the moorhen who 'with exaggerated delicacy steps / free of the reedbeds'; the dragonfly that 'pushes itself through the armour / of its body' to be born. The world is populated by archangels and wild gods, the roar of military aircraft, hunting dogs caught permanently suspended in the chase and a car that veers from the road into the floodwater in which the whole collection is saturated. Human relations are fleeting and vulnerable, appearing in the impression of a wedding or the recurring moments captured between a father and son, who make between them delicate balsawood constructions, which - as the poems do themselves - take flight in the turmoil, ecstatic one moment, plunged into darkness the next.

This is a visionary collection that invokes other times, dimensions and soundscapes to tell out some word of beauty and abundance in the here and now.

Faber

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