Smoke and Mirrors - Review.
Smoke and Mirrors is the name of a collection of poems by Maggie Huscroft. I first encountered her work when she submitted a poem to the writebuzz Poetry of place competition. With savage and delibertate cruelty, the panel which consisted of a mob of drunks, taxi louts and several other undesirable poetic types relegated her entry to that of runner up. Well if you can't take a joke....
Then she hits us with this lot - a marvellous collection of 65 poems.Just think of it -sixty five. I might have written ten - or maybe not. Let's forget rhyme, stanza, metre and St Peter...we are talking poems here.
OK - let's dig in. I always assume that the title poem of a collection may not be the best piece but probably tells us how the poet wants us to view the collection. In Smoke and Mirrors, Maggie takes a wry look at the sham that is our perception. Light, mortality and experience are the destroyers of our wouldbe worlds and illusions which she describes as "phantom confections"
Well, if this be so, Smoke and Mirrors is no acid drop but a deliciously astringent sherbert lemon. The collection reveals the grasp of an established visual artist where poems can be as much seen as read. Many, or indeed most images are drawn from Nature which is never quite red in tooth and claw -leaving the door open to the possiblility of redemption by unequivocal beauty and uncomprimising human kindness and indeed all the shades of love between lover and mother.
Maggie does not duck any issues. Mortality's last word on our fading powers glides shark- like (but gracefully punctuated) just beneath the surface. In "Perspective" she delivers a stunning six liner which does just what is says on the rusting, oxidising tin. Memories of childhood - often with an understated portrayal of powerlessness reflect both sadness and wonder. Poems such as "Lost Father" and "Tadpoling" are written in the very light that shone that actual day.
Just when you think that Maggie will describe and settle for acceptance of both the beauty and suffering of the human condition, one encounters "Who do you Think Your Are?" which puts accusations of hypocrisy and piety right in the face of anyone who -"Trusting in god and charity/ In secret loathe the poor".
Whether this collection was typed and compiled in a year or a week, it would have taken a lifetime to write. If you read or aspire to write poetry you should have this collection on your shelf. It is a picture in words of a life and of an artist which will filter on down the stream, lodging where it will, doing the poet's unknown and unknowable work of eddies and dark currents.
There are harder edged writers...bloody hell, I should know! But, none say more. If you're not putting this little gem in Santa's sack what the f... is wrong with you?
Smoke and Mirrors is published in the USA by Bulldog. It is a beautifully bound bijou production. ISBN no 0-9787247-1-2. I got my copy via www.amazon.com
If you want to check out Maggie's visual art (that's posh for paintings cos I'm a bit of a pseud) go to www.maggiehuscroft.myby.co.uk Look at the flowers - I did.
PS If any of you writebuzzers have got books out there please let me know..I'll read them at least and if you are really unlucky I'll do a review. You know where poetry is don't you - first in it's in your heart or intellect or both. It ain't at Waterstones or W.H. Smiths among the celeb football sex orgy nouvelle cuisine fanzine. It's here. Let me say that again...it's here. New age, new cafe,new starving attic.It's here dummies. OK. Write it. Do it. Do it!
Marco Buschini...An upper case punctuationalist, A MISDEMEANANT - you're up next. Give me a couple of days will ya!. I've got drunks to fight.
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