Friday, March 14, 2008

Judith Fitzgerald Reviews Mary Dalton's Red Ledger

Poet Judith Fitzgerald reviews collections by Mary Dalton and Natalie Stephens

Dalton's Red Ledger opens with a teaser from Selima Hill: "My nipples tick / like little bombs of blood." This speaker raucously woos the piano man: "What sort of a woman would you fancy, Nelson?" Possessing the rhythm of a sea ditty and the charm of a love-call from a woman to a prospect, it appears to head towards bodice-ripper territory.

Quickly, the tone of the book turns serious. The second poem concerns itself with shorthand, Golden Bough, blood-ritual images, while a subsequent entry dekes into car-wash territory and features one cranky spit-and-polish man. Does he occupy the sacred or profane spheres, this misery monger with a power hose and an attitude snarling at passing cars?

To read the rest of this review, please click here.


Mary Dalton's previous book of poems, Merrybegot, is available as an unabridged audio recording narrated by Anita Best with music by Patrick Boyle from Rattling Books.