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These two reviews are no longer available on-line, and are re-printed here with permission from Gerald England of NHI Review.


The use of some of these poems in quality periodicals probably shows general acceptance in establishment terms. The title and title poem refers to Moffatt's transposition from Vermont (USA) to Fife (Scotand) where she now lives, obviously with many intermediate experiences. An interesting delicacy and mystique (enhanced since the precise physical setting, relationship of person, or environment is often unknown, with one or two exceptions) pervade many poems, so that a poem may work within itself without the reader consciously making comparison with an outer world and thus, perhaps, intruding unpoetic elements and destroying the inner virginity of the creation. However, in THE DANCING GIRLS, a successful poem of saddened-with-time memories, there is place (Beirut) and the personal pronoun — one assumes it is the poet:

	I can still see the dancing girls
	Swirl dimly in the morning of my memory.
	Colours slash across the stages of distant dreams,
	Dancing along the borderline of time,
	Waiting for hollow oblivion
	To recall the shimmering shadows:
	Girls, gone and banished from my mind.

On the whole, the poems which dream back memories are better than those in present time. There seems this strange pull and counter-pull of attraction to the past and the running away from it. In ARCTIC CIRCLE, beginning

	He died,
	Somewhere near the arctic circle.
	I carried his death
	Halfway round the globe
	And back. It's part of me,
	Bred in the bone.

it finishes with

	So now, no more running away.
	I bolt the door and stay  
	In one place, my face
	Pressed to the glass,
	Staring at the sun
	As it arcs over the horizon,
	Leaving nothing behind
	But the passage of time.

But there are other poems, mixtures of past and present, and these are all well done, such as LAST TRAIN PAST ARDRAHAN, THE OXYGEN TENT, A DECEIT OF LAPWINGS, and WOOD KERN which again echoes the title:

	Farewell to Erin; Far from home;
	the reels fly around the room.

This time the feeling is apparently from a lone fiddler from Ireland, one of a group long settled in the Highlands of Scotland.

I believe this collection would have benefited from a fuller biographical note in the blurb and the deep blue colour of the cover is not friendly to print legibility. Readers wishing to follow up this poet will no doubt find something fuller in her prose books which have been published by some major houses, non-poetry markets as usual undoubtedly being more attractive for business profits.

Thanks to Lapwing Publications her poetry has not been stifled by the exigencies of capitalism in the book world, a fate all too often ordained.

reviewer: Eric Ratcliffe.

Oasis #110

The slender elegance of this features the work of eight writers, and the art selected blends harmoniously with the text for a fine, integrated reading experience. Carrie Etter's lines

	under the skin the muscle
	around the marrow inside
	the bone that yet palm to
	to hip into all disheveled
	wandering stars,

itself lovely and descriptive, rests beside a drawing by Jean Demelier that evokes precisely the same unity of body and elemental universe.

This blending feels like an underlying principle for the magazine. This issue maintains the OASIS tradition of embracing the nontraditional. CELESTIAL RADIO, Ian Robinson's own, puts art and poetry into an intuitive realm, a moment of intellectual play for both sides of the brain, the capitalized words threading through the poem like Ariadne's thread, involving the reader within the context of the poem as Something Inexplicable Watching.

The poems selected for this issue are of consistently fine quality, original and written with the eye turned inward, illuminating depths. Sometimes, too, they take a strong descriptive stance, as when Deborah Moffatt writes of

	His frosty breath
	A scent of cigarettes,
	The smell of semen and spruce,
	The chill of winter air biting at your naked legs

The poetry here appeals to the sense of touch in the context of time, as when Grahaeme Barrasford Young writes

	Stroking stone, gneiss, mica, granite,
	outcrops worn by casual touch,
	worn by ritual, worn by wind,
	or sliding fingers under lichen sheets

Ann Usborne's fine drawing of Santa Giustiniano, Padua, Italy, crosses the page from Tessa Ransford's translation of Wulf Kirsten's BLACK FRIDAY. The effect becomes subliminally one of feeling simultaneously two aspects of Europe, the darkened history of Germany and the solidity of spaces untouched by the ashes.

OASIS #110 also contains a welcome element of humor and light, including Ray Seaford's playful drawings and Rupert Mallin's TWO PAVEMENT POEMS, which he created from linking words he found on the ground, linking the sea to gravel and grass. The journal tosses in a taste of Alan Baker, UNTHINKABLE THOUGHTS, and the dishevelment of jingles jangling through the course of time becomes not only background noise but also the dawning of a fresh perspective.

This slim volume ends with Young's idea of eternity, an appropriate ending when one learns of editor Ian Robinson's recent passing. Young contracts and redefines time:

	When there was no before,
	the universe, being an atom wide,
	could be crossed in no time at all
	. . .
	there was neither time no place.
	you and they and me could not exist
	save together, a universe apart,
	forevr touching, never touched.

This [presumably final] issue of OASIS satisfies internal cravings for tenderness and timeless touch.

reviewer: Kiesa Kay.