Keith Please taught English literature and poetry in Higher
& Further education in both America and England before his retirement. He is a native of the Isle of Wight now living in Surrey. His selected poems firestrikes, published in 2008
& newly reprinted draws together over forty years work. .
This is poetry which expects to be read with the care with which it was written, poetry which reminds us that a poet is, by linguistic derivation, a maker
£10 inc p&p
More Poetry review
The keenly crafted poems in this collection - all one hundred and fifty of them - are erudite, clever and quietly knowing. Divided mostly into sections, they tell us things with a gentle, yet authoritative kind of certainty: what high risk is, what farms are at night, what dogs are like, what bobsledders do, what a college is, the sky.
There is a merging of cosmological and classical imagery, where the natural world is often used analogously, with careful, detached observations of winds and tides, of whales and mists, but never making the mistake of blatant anthropomorphising.
Please’s world is one full of subtle metaphors touching on the configurations of human relationships, of love, friendship, of the ideologically constructed world. The concept of space, of void, runs through his work like the white dashes on a road. Only rarely does his craftsmanship dilute the feel of a poem, its meaning. There are few sensational endings to his poems. They are not needed.
Some of his last lines remind us of the author outside the experience he writes about; Almost I hear rain (Before a Birth), others, like Ceefax counts the dead (War Video) and glazed them with blackness (Reeve) are bleakly and satisfyingly inevitable. This book shouts Value. My favourites are Only Mothers and The Naming of Names. You choose your own.