Review of ‘A Quietus’ by Josephine Lay

Nigel Kent - Poet and Reviewer

Having read and enjoyed Josephine Lay’s last collection, Unravelling (Black Eyes Publishing UK, 2019) , I looked forward to her next with anticipation and quite rightly so! Though very different in tone and subject matter, A Quietus (Black Eyes Publishing UK, 2021) is equally, if not more, compelling.

The title of the collection gives us a clue to both its tone and concerns. The dictionary definition of the noun, ‘quietus’, is ‘something that has a calming or soothing effect’ (Oxford dictionary). Lay writes two poems which refine and develop the meaning of this word. In the first poem, A Quietus, she offers us a variety of metaphors to capture its essence: ‘a falling/ into the space between notes’; ‘a track after a train has passed’; ‘stillness after the storm’; ‘a sleeping beast’. These images suggest a moment of quiet and stillness, a withdrawal from the hurly-burly of life…

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