Chris Considine: In Search of Home

As soon as I’d finished Chris Considine’s In Search of Home Published by Cinnamon Press (and I couldn’t put it down) I turned right back to the beginning and read the whole book again, finding yet more new felicities the second time around. Chris Considine is the new Featured Writer and I feel very proud of this. She is a very distinguished poet: her poems are disarmingly easy to read but like ships out at sea they contain undercurrents and intelligences it takes time to mentally digest. She has won lots of competitions and has had many collections published.

I first met Chris on an Arvon course some years ago and was delighted when she moved to Devon and then even joined one of the poetry groups I go to. I have to confess I found this a bit intimidating at first as her poetry is so clever and yet …. beguiling, full of stories containing diamond sharp observations. But Chris is a generous and humorous colleague and I am thrilled now when our paths cross as they did at one the launches of this book when we read together in the intimacy of Dana Littlepage-Smith’s sitting room. Chris’s use of language is witty and compassionate; her tone is always somewhat self-deprecatory and yet inquisitive.

I find her titles great fun, for example The Uncertainty Principle is Inherent in the Properties of All Wave-like Systems or Louise Paints Richard’s Portrait in Black and White Emulsion: they tend to say what they do on the tin! She finds humour in the darkest of subjects.

When I think of this book I think of the bright light off the sea in her new Plymouth home (after Swaledale it must have been a shock … well, Plymouth is a bit of a shock to anyone! ) that she describes with such verve, and her questioning observations of naval goings on in The Sound which she brings to life in the later poems of this book. The cover of her book is witty too as it shows the fantastical and romantic painting of ‘Plymouth with a Rainbow’ by J.M.W Turner. (perhaps it did once look like that!)

Here’s the first two lines of a long sequence aptly called Home

  1. Stranger

Planet Zog, for instance, or one with just a number
(QL154?) This place where I’ve landed.

or this from

  1. Bay-window Triptych:

But what most holds the attention is the water, blue or grey
or running with white fire, passage to the open sea
that extends as far as the sky and over the edge and on perhaps forever.

Read this whole one because it’s one of my favourites:

Far to Go

If all my homes slide through the eye of my mind
at the end, death will be long drawn-out.

A life of movement and belonging nowhere
pulled into this shape and that, giving, thinning

then stretched too far until there’s a tear in the fabric
a black hole, more, reverse stars in a pale membrane

like gaps in the demented brain. By now
I’m little more than shreds snagged on the nails

of this and that loved and abandoned place,
frayed spider’s webs, tenacious silks.

These poems (as do all of Chris’) use language deftly and they speak for themselves: compressed and yet conversational at the same time. I think it’s something she’s imbibed with the Yorkshire air myself.

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About Rebecca Gethin

Rebecca Gethin is a poet and a novelist. Cinnamon Press published her third collection, All the Time in the World in 2017. Another pamphlet is forthcoming with Three Drops Press. Her second novel, What the horses heard, was published by Cinnamon Press in May 2014. Her second poetry collection - A Handful of Water - was published by Cinnamon in 2013. Her first - River is the Plural of Rain - was published by Oversteps Books in 2009. Her novel Liar Dice won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award in 2010 and was published in 2011. She lives on Dartmoor and writes occasional pieces about wildlife and nature. Her poems appear in a variety of poetry magazines and in several anthologies.
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7 Responses to Chris Considine: In Search of Home

  1. E.E. Nobbs says:

    Enjoyed this post – your comments and the poems. Found that “PIG SITTING ON THE ISLAND” on the Featured Writers page to be especially moving. Thanks Chris & Becky.

  2. Stella Wulf says:

    Loved, Far To Go. I’ll definitely be looking her up – thanks, Becky.

  3. Anne Simpson says:

    Spotted tiny ‘Swaledale Sketch-book’ sitting on some magazines in the local Surgery (Richmond, Swaledale). Loved ‘Making Marmalade’. Local bookshop confirmed out of print but has managed to find 2nd hand copy on line. So pleased.

  4. Anne, I forwarded your appreciation to Chris C. Thanks

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