Review: If We Could Speak Like Wolves

Published by Smith/Doorstop by Poetry Business this year, Kim Moore’s newly launched poetry pamphlet draws the reader in with hypnotic power and builds a seamless transition between truth and fable. Watch out for the curious balance between enchantment and danger in ‘The Wolf’: ‘the one who eats chalk to make his words / as white as snow’ and ‘the one who is not / as he appears’. Enchanting one with his language, the wolf, or wolf-poet figure, is so believable that ‘he can take / a house from you’.

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Water imageries and wild animals articulate the complexity of one’s mind, the desire for intimacy — intimacy with people and places– and resistance against it. I enjoy the texture and expressiveness in ‘Sometimes You Think of Bowness’ while ‘Hartley Street Spiritualist Church’ reminds me, in a strange way, of Larkin’s poem ‘Aubade’, the pendulum swing between devotion to poetry and faith, blurring the divide between the visible and the invisible world.

The title poem ‘If We Could Speak Like Wolves’ postulates an intimate relationship or connection that will overcome mistakes and conflicts. The vivid imagery of wolf bodies and the estuary where one can hear the wolf howls transform the abstract quality of estrangement and make it so much more palatable. The hypothesis of ‘if we could speak like wolves’ deliberately refrains from story-telling. It is as if the poet says to the reader: ‘you have to learn it the hard way.’

These poems mark the development of a sensitive and bold voice, and hold as much beauty as unrest.

The brutal precision of poetry

A poem a day 

I have recwetherspoonently helped to create a short clip for Kim Moore’s poetry reading of ‘Tuesday At Wetherspoons’. This poem speaks to me more than ‘Robin in Flight’ by Paul Adrian (the prizewinning poem for the National Poetry Competition). Having listened to it over and over as I edited the clip, I am intrigued by how emotion and imagery become intertwined with each other, how the poet does not let you go away without feeling disturbed. There is tenderness mixed with an almost brutal quality in the precision of poetry, quite surprising for such a young poet: ketchup around the mouth, the hand between the thighs, the sad gleam of the forks and knives at Wetherspoons on a weekday. I find it a very effective way to include the name of the pub, a detail that gives gravity and a twinge of disappointment towards unglamorous life. Interesting to be reading and listening to this poem before the royal wedding day. It leads one to think about the ideals and tension in a relationship. Her poem reminds me of Philip Larkin’s work, especially ‘Home is So Sad‘.