Issue 31


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Citizeness                                         ISBN 9780954239923

By Pat Jourdan

Motet Press

36 pp A5 Staple Bound,

Card Cover £3

Reviewed by Carol Thistlethwaite


I've long been an admirer of Pat Jourdan's work so was pleased to receive this pamphlet to review. Jourdan doesn't do ‘chocolate box’ but is intent on paring down. I love her precise use of words and placement to produce maximum effect. Her words often operate on more than one level, she is a great storyteller and always manages to be original. When you're as good as this you don't need classical references and difficult vocabulary to proclaim your worth. This is accessible brilliance.

As the title suggests, this collection includes poems about political elections, protest marches, the Home Guard, graffiti etc. Two poems that stood out for me were That Far-Away Look and The Tenth Life, both about serving in Afghanistan. How subtle is the juxtaposition of all the battery of kitchen noise (as a family Christmas dinner is being prepared) with We never ask about Afghanistan.

I also admired Knitting Names With Madame Defarge which really does wind words, wool and metaphor into a snug garment.

How many poems have been written about first days at school? And yet, Jourdan still manages to bring originality to Ready to Start as she contrasts the adults who ‘fluff’ around with the order of school: its fear and joy parallel and where the children's names have already been assorted alphabetically. It's another well honed poem where the metaphors are seamlessly drawn from the classroom scenario.

In my opinion, Pat Jourdan deserves to be much better known.


Review from Issue31 - Citizeness