Gail Ashton has always had the ability to conjure whole lives in a few lines. In her second collection, The Other Side of Glass, those conjuring abilities are joined by a new confidence and maturity as a poet to dazzling effect.
Precise, writerly, packed with description and wit, Gail Ashton’s poems in this collection are assured and rich. Beautifully spaced, both on the page and in the mind, she insists on an engagement with words, whethera ice-skald riddle or a ditty on the em dash. Her ventures into prose poetry are exciting and intriguing and her command of the single line is admirable: ‘Look to the stones’ she advises us at the end of one poem, while the almost throwaway ‘dreams of polishing him off, daily.’ is chilling. ‘Almost’ is crucial – there is no need for Ashton to ‘throw away’ her lines and it would be a shame if she did. I look forward to future work in this new assured voice. - Judy Kendall