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Sarah Arvio, Sono with Visits from the Seventh, Bloodaxe Books, £9.95 including free audio CD.

For all Sarah Arvio’s obvious intelligence, culture, technical adroitness and articulacy, I struggled with this book. In the end I didn’t feel the struggle brought anything like enough reward.

My feeling of a fundamental aridity was at its most acute in Sono. The poem – a sequence of forty-two “cantos” arranged in generally blank verse triplets – seems to have an underlying story of a love affair gone wrong, and on this basis the poet reflects ramblingly on lost love, sex and life in a Roman setting. The writing can flash briefly into imagistic vividness or pathos, and it may be … Continue Reading