Review of The Whiskey Tree Wave 1 – ‘Untamed Nature’

This fine anthology is a hymn to raw nature, whose poems rove over deserts, fields, rivers and salt marshes. It is curated by Alan Parry, editor-in-chief of The Broken Spine. The poets include Jay Rafferty, Vikki C., Karen Pierce Gonzalez, Matthew M.C. Smith and many more.

Here are just a few of my favourites. In ‘Larks Attending’, Mary Earnshaw walks a fisherman’s path, where the world is ‘un-edged/slipping convexly away/ as sea meets sky’.

Sue Finch, in ‘Desert Antlers’, stands at the edge of the desert. ‘Doubled by their shadow the antlers begged/ for the touch of my fingers’.     

Cait O’Neill McCullagh in ‘Allochory’ records the cycle of the seasons in potent, magical language. ‘Drookit, hope softens this bed for nutfall/ & we gullet her fattening, drill & sink sweet treasuries of seed’.  

For me, perhaps the most devastating poem is Matthew M C Smith’s ‘Now and Forever’ about a visit to a psychiatric hospital. ‘I see his mind as a diseased honeycomb with tiny fires,/ hexagons aglow. The slow flame edged with grey spreads/ through boundless chambers.’

I could go on. This slim volume is chock-full of arresting poetry. Available from The Broken Spine.