‘Open’ by Sarah St Vincent Welch and ‘Cuando Fui Clandestino / When I Was Clandestine’ by Juan Garrido Salgado reviewed in ‘Cordite’

You can purchase Open and Cuando Fui Clandestino / When I Was Clandestine from the Rochford Cottage Bookshop along with other Rochford Press titles https://rochford-pressbookshop.square.site/shop/rochford-press/13

Tim Wright has reviewed Open by Sarah St Vincent Welch and Cuando Fui Clandestino / When I Was Clandestine by Juan Garrido Salgado in Cordite. It is wonderful to see these two Rochford Press books reviewed. It is also great recognition for both Juan and Sarah.

Writing of Open Wright says:

‘Open’ is invoked by St Vincent Welch also in a different sense, that is, different from the way we might think of all poetic language as having the quality of being ‘open’, this being open as an imperative. In other words, the book contains a call towards openness. This comes through in a number of ways: the cover image, slightly reminiscent of a Magritte, depicting rustic window shutters thrown open to reveal an interior ocean; the title poem’s refrain of ‘open me’, and in the prologue, which aestheticises the appeal – the magic – of opening a book specifically, seeming to position this book almost as a grimoire. This latter sense is also apparent in the poem ‘Story Time’, in its evocation of the speed and inventiveness of children’s games, their ability to create worlds: ‘We are old now, he says’ – and then they ‘are’. The boy’s bedroom, in this poem, becomes the interior of a ship, and it’s here the story time of the title begins, embedded within a story already created by the boy, ending: ‘He says, This is where / the old man and woman / left their books. // We read them.’ The interesting thing about this poem, and others in the book with the same theme, is that play is not deprecated or merely observed from an adult’s perspective, but taken seriously and participated in.

Then of Cuando Fui Clandestino / When I Was Clandestine he says:

Images favoured by Garrido Salgado in this chapbook are: blood, flight, shadow, grain and the moon (images of the moon are favoured also by St Vincent Welch). The most striking lunar image is in the final poem, ‘Dentro de tus brazos hay paz . . .’ / ‘. . . In your arms there is peace’ (a title attributed to Ali Cobby Eckermann, a poet who has written intensely moving poems about mothers), that of the ‘luna seca’ / ‘dry moon’, linked with ‘la sangre de nuestra madre’ / ‘the blood of our mother’. ‘Borges dictated . . .’, the poem discussed above, shows a typical way that Garrido Salgado handles these images: in chains of metaphor which work hand in hand with his employment of the long line.

In ‘He Fallado, He Caído’ / ‘I have failed, I have fallen’ the poet reimagines the state murder of his friends under the Pinochet regime. It is hard not to think here of that other Chilean expatriate Roberto Bolaño, whose fiction works again and again the moment of the Pinochet coup, with its lasting effects not just for Chilean but for world history. ‘. . . Otre hombre ha muerto en el Centro de Detención de Naura y la Isla Manus’ / ‘. . . Another man dies at the Nauru & Manus Island Detention Centres’ again tries to imagine a way into horror, as if the poet must take a share of it via imaginative acts of empathy: ‘A refugee died today, and my heart does not beat.’ Both are poems, ultimately, of witness-bearing.

You can read the complete review at http://cordite.org.au/reviews/wright-stwelch-garridosalgado/.

You can purchase Open and Cuando Fui Clandestino / When I Was Clandestine from the Rochford Cottage Bookshop along with other Rochford Press titles https://rochford-pressbookshop.square.site/shop/rochford-press/13

Les Wicks reviews ‘Open’ by Sarah St Vincent Welch

Open, by Sarah St Vincent Welch was reviewed by Les Wicks in the on-line jounal Plumwood Mountain along with Anne Casey’s second collection out of emptied cups. Wicks says of Open:

We the readers should approach a new title looking for some if not all of the following: unity of concept, consistency of poetic exploration, innate veracity and the processes to surprise / enrich / illuminate.

Open meets all these criteria. I love the imagery – have you ever wondered if it was possible for someone to craft a new image from that most observed of phenomena, the moon? St Vincent Welch does it three times: ‘moon lead / bruise’ (5), ‘the new moon follows / like an excited dog’ (9) and the brilliant ‘porthole moon’ (7). Image is not used promiscuously but rather carefully placed like the methodical gardener. Delight in the ‘powder of age’ (2), ‘my breasts are empty sails’ (7), and ‘kneeling bus’ (16), interspersed with a crisp, clear even occasionally vernacular language.

He concludes:

Open, is an enriching book with a reach far beyond its limited number of pages.

You can read the full review at  https://plumwoodmountain.com/les-wicks-reviews-open-by-sarah-st-vincent-welch-out-of-emptied-cups-by-anne-casey/

You can oder Open from the Rochford Press Bookshop https://rochfordpress.com/rochford-press-bookshop/

Open by Sarah St Vincent Welch $10