Mandy Pannett’s All The Invisibles (SPM Publications, 2012) is an uplifting, grounded and coherent collection of poems that stem from a deep absorption in the history and mythology of the English landscape and natural world. It is a living awareness of the literary and historical associations of the people, animals and wildlife that live on or near the land. These diverse poems, wonderfully rooted in the things of the world that inspire and intrigue, converge into a pattern of existence that is at once both magical and lived in the raw. The great strength of these poems is that they are open to the natural world in both its light and shade. Pannett, a regular contributor to Tears in the Fence for the past two decades, has a keen awareness of the potential and danger within the borderland of wilderness and a cultivated culture, impinged as it is by knowledge and shadow. Many of the poems point to a movement outside of ordinary relationships that stunts, liberates or neutralizes. This frisson undercuts the poems that offer sunlight to produce a continual counter-movement of broken bliss. The heart and body is at once, through reference to the Romantics, geology, toxins and decomposition, out of kilter with and vulnerable to the dialectic of the land.
The Hurt Of Man
… A black and wolvish
world of ice, too thick at first
to shatter-cut while hurt of man
is seeding in the grass. Enough
to measure shadows with a twig
and cranberry notch, for time to turn around
the waning moon. Violating
silent girls he sees that those who plough
the viper fight for guts of fish. Now
a wolf devours the light …
This exceptional collection, written by a poet who understands her craft and is finding more than mystery in the world, is highly recommended.