Thursday, June 07, 2007

3. Tony Lawrence - Landing on Eros

I’d planned, in the distant past, to review a a bunch of chapbooks, but found the time only to do two. I’m going to have another shot, but these will be mini-reviews, 250 words max – hardly ideal, but more manageable for me, given constraints on my time.

Tony Lawrence’s book, Landing on Eros, one of several chapbooks he’s self-published, is an entertaining read. There is an outer space theme, bringing unity to the collection. The real subject of most poems is the human condition – questions on love, metaphysics, loneliness.

Some make clever use of metaphor, such as Dark Energy. If the Tyrannosaurus Rex had, contrary to expectation, been successful:

he would destroy all of the others,
and then
his meteoric rise burnt out
fall in upon himself;
a dark body
moving too fast
in the wrong place.

Many work with suggestion, implication, a hint of unsettling mystery, such as Barnard’s Star:

There are two kinds of space with their own stars,
the dark and light,
that coexist.

The dark stars wander like so many ghosts
blind among tombstones.

There is one near us now.

It will come close
until its night
enters our own day
and shows
in the absent soul of the ghost
the living eye on the dead face.

I’d guess the presence of an editor would have tightened up some of the poems, and sorted out a few technical flaws. Also there are 36 poems in this chapbook, often two to a page. I felt that, cut to 20-24 or so, the book would have been stronger as a whole. But I still enjoyed this stimulating trip through Tony Lawrence’s mind.

There’s no information on how to buy this chapbook. It costs £4. If anyone wants to get hold of a copy, let me know by email (address at my profile) and I’ll let Tony know.

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