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Shanta Acharya, What Survives Is the Singing – review

The title of Shanta Acharya’s What Survives Is the Singing suggests a central difference between it and the other two books (Wing, by Matthew Francis, and The Martian’s Regress by J O Morgan). In them, general ideas arise by implication from particulars. In it, general ideas are the overt driving force. This approach limits the reader’s freedom of imagination and response. Its advantage is the sheer intensity of passion or acuteness of realization it can produce. One very strong poem is ‘Can You Hear Our Screams’, a haunting catalogue of femicide violence starting with the rape and murder … Continue Reading

J O Morgan, The Martian’s Regress – review

The Martian’s Regress by J. O. Morgan imagines Earth’s utter devastation by human greed. Within the book’s loosely framing fiction, humans abandon earth to settle on Mars. They’ve undergone profound physical adaptations before they send an expedition back to their old dead planet. The frame gives broad imaginative continuity, but its looseness and the freedom with which Morgan uses different tropes of science fiction allow him to extrapolate and satirize human characteristics and behaviours in radically different ways. This gives imaginative variety, and means that individual poems happily stand alone. Parodies of such different genres as cautionary tale, myth and … Continue Reading