Poetry book review – Notes from a Bright Field by Rose Cook

Notes From A Bright Field book coverI encountered this poet at the night of readings I took part in for Telltales at Penzance Literary Festival. In a sea of stories and performance poetry, Rose Cook’s poetry rang out as something deeper and more substantial than most – nourishing in a way that few assortments of words achieve.

Because as writers, that’s what we’re trying to do, isn’t it? To string words together in ways that are original and fresh, yet cut through to a truth all can recognise and potentially be enriched by?

Rose has a defter hand than most, or should that be a keener eye? She sees the world with uncommon clarity, noticing the things, small and large, we might easily overlook, and helps the reader view it afresh. The collection reads as being distinctly personal yet generously shared, as Rose talks us through strolls through woodlands, pointing out the birds she seems to love, then sweeps us indoors to peek into her mother’s hand mirror, to spy contains reflections of “my eyes, quick green,/ wild sticklebacks in a rain pond.”As those two line show, these are poems that are at once deeply internal, deeply personal, and wide-open universal.

I read her collection very quickly on the train travelling home, then, as I re-read them at a slower, less greedy pace, began to mark the pages containing descriptions that seem to me particularly to resonate. The only problem being that are so many most of the book is now crammed with tongues of torn paper. Too many to share here. But here are a handful – you’ll have to buy the collection to find the rest.

Crow-flecked days (from ‘The Way Freedoms Are Dreamt’)

I seek shade like a snail (from “Along With the Tall Trees’)

Death crept to his neck,/ licked a tender place, breathed softly/in the way that snow does (from ‘Blossoms in the Wind’)

The flower patch strung with/ tendrilled reaching (from “Morning’)

The long, smooth assembly/ of your limbs on the bed (from “Landscape’)

we creep home by snatched light/ through snow, marbled icy paths (from ‘Snow Trains’)

We live under the flight path of the greylag geese,/ whose V grows longer each day. (from ‘On the First Day of Autumn’) 

It is a place of air and thrown light,/ so many windows you can maze yourself. (from ‘What is a Cathedral?)

And something we would all do well to remember: That spider on your shoulder is nothing personal,/ you are another entity, part of the whole. (from ‘A Skip and a Hop: A Series of Walks’).

Notes from a Bright Field by Rose Cook is published by Cultured Llama and available to buy from Amazon.