Aug 242020

Poetry by Jean Stevens


a lifetime’s freight of words
slippery words
words across deep valleys
devoting a life to words
words of help
lost words
magical words
the air full of words
words inside a child’s head
anchoring words
alive with words
a serpent’s words
finished with words
all human words
black-lettered words
grappling with words
all those words that might have been

The poems in Jean Stevens’ latest collection reflect on the joy to be found in words,

working with words, and in managing the nothingness. She revels in their use, at the same time as acknowledging the difficulty of finding words that say exactly what we mean.

There is regret about their use in relationships: a lifetime’s freight of words said and regretted and the weight of words I should have said,along with a wish to share with nature the language vital for living at one with the elements.

Other poems relish the sound of words heard and remembered: Crewe Alexandra, Plymouth Argyle, and an imagined conversation with Sylvia Plath: To hell with men, let’s devote our lives to words, as well as recognising that things said years ago still influence us: that’s not for the likes of you,and lead to a lifetime trying to learn the impossible language.

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