THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING
AT DAVID GRUBB'S WAYS OF LOOKING
'Is he the one who looks like Father
asks my teenage daughter. And he does,
knows he does, says it's so himself.
His five poems here use thirteen stanzas
in a cubist manner, approaching his subjects
again and again from a different angle.
Here on the page are images of times
past and present, the way light flickers
and how the mind makes pictures in words.
How odd that personal thoughts and ideas
tell the truth to so many different people
in ways they so seldom expect.
His poems have an annoying way
of dodging around your mind's guard
and landing punches in your heart.
ÔIs there a religious impulse behind your work?'
asks a student suspiciously, after a reading,
wanting to know why he is so concerned.
We have a sporadic and ongoing conversation,
poems - sometimes years apart - that argue
or reply or echo, words that must be said.
Sometimes I wonder why he won't let go
of the themes he clings to: landscape, place,
memory, age; things we can never truly know.
We have both written before of death
and of how the memory of a father
can reappear when least expected.
He is even more prolific than me,
and sometimes struggles to shape his books
but this pamphlet is streamlined and toned.
Each poet has some kind of inner drive,
a need to wrestle with language in public.
Do not ask me who is winning.
'What remains is what we attempted to be'.
But also what we attempted to write
and what we were unable to write.
There are far more ways of looking
than Grubb's chosen form allows:
spaces between stanzas tell us so.
© Rupert M Loydell
Ways of Looking, David Grubb (22pp, £5.00, Smith/Doorstop)