Stuffed with Strangeness

The End of Limbo, Valeria Melchioretto

(8.99, 68, Salt)

This is a debut collection of work stuffed to the brim with strangeness. Not the kind of strangeness that is off-putting, but the kind of strangeness that draws the reader in and makes them want to learn more about the poet, the way she thinks and the life she has led thus far.

We are transported to heaven and hell and back with a humility that is at times overwhelming and yet at times absent - just like the readership one suspects. At times what I thought I knew was abruptly questioned. The poet is striving to express truth, objective, well maybe not, but certainly her experience of it. And that truth cannot nor should not be questioned as it is a truth that so often is lost in the humdrum apology of what we have the audacity to call life.

Here the poem does what a good sermon or lecture should do - I don't mean preach to us, but point out the value in the everyday and the specialness that is to be found there if only we can be bothered to get off our arses and explore the wonders around us let alone in other places.

Yet her writing contains a modesty that does not presume to push ideas, just gentle nudges or perhaps shoves in the right direction.

Born in the German part of Switzerland but now Italian, Valeria Melchioretto has been living in the UK since the 1990's. These cultural references shine through her work, and perhaps give us light of the alternative realism that she portrays.

For such a modest work, the pleasure and depth that it contains far outwiegh the appearance.

The End of Limbo
is packed full of images that are extravagant and bizarre whilst remaining honest and accessible.

         Alan West 2008