In her second full-length collection, Anne Caldwell marries the knack for surprise and inventive imagery with precise observation and lucid turns of phrase.
Beginning from quotidian moments — a hospital ward, a glass heart Christmas decoration, a writing retreat — Caldwell moves the reader into new landscapes, exterior and interior, with an assured grace that can nonetheless by unsettling. From short lyrical pieces to sequences, the human condition in all it's delight and grief is revealed.
'Seasonal Affective Disorder'
is the end of the railroad:
a town where windows are shuttered to snow,
where no one smiles and there's no winter sunrise.
It's a Saab that hates cold weather,
stuttering with a dirty carburettor,
spark plugs losing the will to arc to each other.
By mid-morning it's sliced cheese curling on a plate.
It wraps itself round my guts like wet cloth.
Settles there and spreads.
I need a shift in season, to feel the Saltstraumen
warming with rose fish and halibut,
I need a sea eagle to rid the tundra of vermin.
Painting the Spiral Staircase has been reviewed by Compass Magazine.
Praise for Anne Caldwell's previous work:
Caldwell's poems are seductively original, and, at their best, link everyday language and bizarre events so as to surprise and shock.
Professor Jon Glover, Stand Magazine Vol 10(2) 2011 (Review of Talking with the Dead.)