Paul Brookes – Othernesses – A Little Review by Lawrence Moore

We need strangeness, newness to be alive. Unexpected, scary, constant revive.

In Othernesses, Paul Brookes takes a brave and uncompromising deep delve into the worlds of little things. Aided by Jane Cornwell’s charming illustrations, we are skilfully transported to the minds and habitats of his subjects to the extent that briefly, we may become the creatures in question.

It is a sensual, physical collection, with the language of his Othernesses chiefly direct and businesslike as they hatch, breed, rear, hunt and die with greater frequency than your average nature documentary, though seldom with complaint, busy as they are in the now.

As an Egg’, ‘Grasshopper’ and ‘Strandline’ (where Brookes proves equally willing to consider the perspectives of inanimate subjects) are among the highlights of a hugely cohesive first half. ‘Decisions must be made in loss and grief how to move forward in pain, through dead leaf.

As the book progresses, Brookes begins to explore human experiences too, most notably in Ghost Forest, a moving portrayal of a woman still haunted by her past. In fact, the second half as a whole has a more reflective feel to it, with poems like ‘Ocean Is’ and ‘Mirrors’ also striking harmonious philosophical notes. By the end, we get the impression we’ve been on a journey or, more accurately, a dream that leaves us feeling swelled with empathy and understanding as we wake up.

The book can be purchased at Amazon in Kindle, paperback and hardback here Othernesses

Lawrence Moore

writes poetry from a loft study overlooking Portsmouth where he lives with his husband Matt and nine mostly well behaved cats. His poetry had been published at, among others, Sarasvati, Pink Plastic House and The Madrigal. His chapbook Aerial Sweetshop was released by Alien Buddha Press in January 2022. @LawrenceMooreUK

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