Monday, 11 January 2016

Book Review - Kith by Jo Bell

Kith by Jo Bell (from Nine Arches Press) is a wonderful collection of poems. I began reading this weeks ago and then put it aside as I had so many other things to do. I came back to it recently and I will have to do another read through some time as I've forgotten the earlier poems. Jo is the Canal Laureate for UK appointed by The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust, and she lives on a narrowboat. Any wonder there are poems about rivers and canals here then! She also features quite a lot of sex! I do love the way she writes, the humour and matter-of-fact use of words.

In her past life Jo has also worked as an archaeologist. I find anything to do with this subject interesting. It seems to run parallel to my rather macabre interest in forensics/crime and writing! Jo's book is dotted with archaeological poetry. Small Finds was one of my favourites - how we leave bits of ourselves behind. Excavation is another I love. Then there is Worship (not quite the usual kind!) inside a church. Suffice it to say that the font had probably never been used in that way before! Frozen in is a canal boat poem. You can hear the ice moving around the boat, feel the cold as Jo weaves her words. How to live on a narrow boat is written in a long column, lines of between one and three words.I like the visual effect of the that.

In all a lovely collection. I've had the pleasure of seeing Jo Bell perform her poetry live. The fun of those quirky poems comes across so well as she reads. The book (the blurb on the back refers to the poetry as being about love, sex, boats and friends and so much more) is endorsed by Carol Ann Duffy. You can't get better than that now, can you?

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