Review of ‘Broken Things and other tales’ by Vicky Allen

Nigel Kent - Poet

This week it’s my pleasure to review Vicky Allen’s quietly resonant pamphlet Broken Things and other tales (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2020) that invites us to step back from the hurly-burly of urban living and find significance in the ordinary things in our daily lives.

Her poem, Heron, is typical of her sparse, economical style and of her concerns. The heron ‘stands/ folded/ silent/ still’. Nothing happens: the heron does not move or attempt to strike at a fish, a point reinforced by the repetition of ‘folded, silent, still’ in the penultimate stanza. Yet Allen finds significance in the moment. She describes the bird as ‘a ghost/ watcher’, ‘bridging/ this solid/ world/ and/ its paler cousin’, portraying it as a sort of Grim Reaper and reminding us of the transient nature of life: death is never far away. Yet typically the poem resonates with other meanings for it concludes with the…

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