Journeying ISBN. 978-1-908853-05-9
By Paul Sutherland
Published by Valley Press, 2012. www.valleypressuk.com
Woodend, The Crescent, Scarborough, YO11 2PW
Paperback, 103 pages,
Reviewed by Graham Rippon
Paul Sutherland is a well-respected poet and workshop leader. This is his eighth production (if the list of previous works is complete), many of the poems have appeared in noted literary magazines and the first poem in the book, The Diver was used as part of 2012 Olympics promotion. All of which leads to high expectations. You will not be disappointed.
One of the short cover 'blurbs' includes the word "nostalgia" but there's an emotional intelligence present throughout the book that offers a sense of something spiritually deeper than nostalgia. The journeys are physical, historical and relational. There's an underlying pulse of always moving on, of leaving behind:
...he slipped out between the steaming roast and ice cream.
Among clacking of gathered china and noisy kitchen-talk,
without a warning gasp, slumped in his padded chair.
Nearby, a grandson's are you ok, Papa? left in space.
and, yes, moments of alienation. Here he is returning to the land of his birth (Canada):
Once more I return - not to the land
I lived and dreamed through –
celebrating its silencing winter –
but my foreign land
from across the ocean.
(My Foreign Land)
This is one of the shortest poems, others are long – the title poem, for instance, covers 10 pages. That poem, Journeying reveals touches of conflict –
I'm a foreigner, constantly coming in.
Yearn to be free
from counter pulls of home against home.
And belonging –
There's a part of Lincolnshire that remains
forever Canadian (to extend Brooke's metaphor);
a patch of torn ground perpetually Polish,
a spot under shattered branch tops always Punjabi
Review from Issue 31 - Journeying