Southsea Castle Lighthouse

Landings – Third Review

The third review of Landings appeared in South Magazine issue 59. As South is a print only publication the review can’t be found online, so I am copying the whole review here in full.

Landings – Richard Williams Dempsey & Windle 57 pp £8.00 (ISBN 978-1-907435-591)

Language in this memorable collection is both precise and lyrical. In The Feng Shui shop on Fratton Road the area is bright with “sleet and oil and rainbows”. In Lighting up the chiminea the poet urges us to turn our backs on “the dying of the sun” and “mellow the dark in an orange glow” while remembering “Soft memories of gold” and allowing words to “dance to our shadows” before “terracotta turns cold”. There is a strong sense of place in this poem as there is throughout the collection, an emphasis on “this dusty earth,/this Hampshire chalk, these rolling fields” – all of which are being eroded as the past sifts “through our hands”.

Dust is an image that predominates. Landings begins with poems (The King of stationery and Contents of the loft of an eBay trader) which present a landscape, part rural, part suburban, where things are shrinking and marginal, missing, out of date, unused or discontinued.

The world is also getting smaller in a remarkable prose piece (It was only his second ever day of being seven) where the current affairs the father reads about in a newspaper are juxtaposed with images of sweets and drinks that appeal to his young son. Eventually these images shrink to the size of a “small globe of sugar” which resembles “a ball of light at the beginning of time” and which the child, dipping back his head, swallows whole.

‘Landings’ is a strong collection of poems filled with nostalgia and sadness at loss. There is urgency too, a need to hang on to what is left and even to try and “restock futures left discarded” in a different ocean “full of fish and full of light.” (Map-making). A perfect image of hope. Mandy Pannett

South is a long established magazine from the southern counties of England. More information can be found here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *