Reviews:
The Silence Living in Houses

Esther
Morgan






Beyond Calling Distance
Silence Living in Houses
Home
News
Biography
The Silence Living in Houses
Beyond Calling Distance
New Poems
Journey of a Poem
Reactions
Ordering Books
Beat the Blank Page
Links
Contact Me

 

The Guardian, 24 September 2005
These are whispered poems, folded into small spaces; delicate, pointillist portraits of the half-seen, the barely there. Esther Morgan takes the reassuringly domestic - linen and lavender, recipes, kitchen gardens - and destabilises it, building it into an insubstantial, twilit world of moths and fairy cakes, "the honeycombed skeletons of birds", walls that are "eggshell thin". Her houses mutate back and forth from places of refuge to prisons in which "you wake bricked-up". The inhabitants, both dead and living, are ghosts: the maid who vanished after smashing the dinner service, the beaten wife who no longer recognises her face in the mirror. In the central section, the wife's story, the delicacy of the earlier poems becomes the "cruel delicacy" of "concocted torture", while the silence of the title is "the sharp cry lodged inside your cortex", the stifling silence of things unsaid. but it's in this silence that Morgan's power lies. She refuses to sensationalise. Death, loss, abuse - all are considered obliquely, through windows, paintings and photographs, a strategy of deflection and understatement that throws the turmoil lurking just beneath the surface of these poems into sharp relief.


[top]

The Times Literary Supplement, 14 October 2005
These are poems of moody and menacing interiors, with their "locked rooms and skeleton keys", an imagined half-sister to whom the poet offers the tribute of sleeplessness, and a vision of "Business. Property. Appointments. Money" going up in smoke as a newspaper is used to set a fire.

Morgan explores the perennial reserve of mystery attaching to even the most familiar dwelling, since "Every house contains a room that doesn't exist". In the punningly titled 'Self-Possession', she conjures a ghost as a kind of domestic pet "so I can sleep safe at night". In 'The Ghost of This House' she goes further, and describes a usurping sprit who "is forgetting to believe in me". Non-ghostly presences include imperious and domestically violent males, whose aggression is projected onto the house itself in 'House Rules': "a flight of stairs/throws you full length/a door walks into your face." The book is arranged in three sections, with the theme of threat and violence building to a climax at the end of the second. In 'House-Breaking', Morgan describes her preference for a "roof of sky", and the demolition work required to tear a house apart from the inside. It is a fitting metaphor for the struggle in these poems against their self-imposed claustrophobia. In 'At the Parrot Sanctuary', however, the book appears to end on an equivocal note, with its image of visitors leaving the birds in their cages to "the silence that only comes/ when we are gone". Is their silence a wise passivity or surly dejection? Parrots are, after all, noisy birds. These well-crafted poems relish their atmosphere of sylized confinement, even as they know that true liberation may require opening the door and letting the prisoners out.


[top]

Iota 72, Winter 2005
The Silence Living in Houses is an absorbing journey in place, with grandmothers linked to granddaughters, through daughters/mothers obviously, but also bey treading the same floorboards, looking through the same windows, crossing, or at least arriving at, similar borders. Dreams are here, so too everyday tasks, routine and ritual, and domstic vilence: stark, harrowing, but again stoically contained, and therefore exceptionally poewrful, as in 'house Rules': "Tonight he addresses your flesh -/ Look what you made me do, he says/ as a flight of stairs/ throws you full length,/ a door walks into your face". It's true that even a painting - Vermeer's Milk Maid - is employed as a tool to recreate the existence of "my mother framed in the misted kitchen window, her eyes closed and no way of knowing/ what it was she was asking for". However, there are images that stretch away into an awareness of a broader perspective, of other places where a woman steps from her clothes to swim a border river, presumably desperate to escape a political rather than a personal repression. And she makes it, too, rising from the water full of optimism and fresh, clean innocence..."hauls herself out like a fish/ to stand in the first light with nothing/ but the skin on her back". Yes, these women suffer, but even in persecution, or in death they have stories to tell. Esther Morgan is a crafswoman who has learned her trade - for example, she has the delightful ability to shut up when the poem has said its piece - and this book is a treasure.


[top]

Pop Matters
Pop Matters Online Reivew


[top]






Contact Me
Timberland Mens Boots Shoes Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Homme Adidas Stan Smith Foot Locker Nike Free 5.0 Running Shoes Adidas Ultra Boost Shoes Nike Kyrie 2 Adidas Originals Superstar 2 Adidas NMD Footlocker Nike KD 9 Shoes Nike Air Max Adidas Ultra Boost Shoes UK Nike Air Max 2016 adidas Originals Stan Smith Sneaker Air Jordan 11 Nike Air Max 2015 Nike Air Max Shoes Billig adidas NMD Verkauf Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 UK For Sale Outlet Online Adidas Originals Stan Smith Shoes Cheap Stephen Curry 2 Shoes Store