Louise is a rapidly emerging poet who I & a multitude of others have been following on Twitter & her blog for quite some time. It is such a privilege & a pleasure, therefore, to offer you my review of Louise's stunning collection of poems:
‘What name defines me?’ asks Louise Hastings in her poem called, simply, Poet. Well, after having savoured the delights of her first collection she is clearly a very talented poet who has the ability to hold the reader in the simple truths and beauty of her words. So many times I found myself stepping out at the end of a poem with a sense of its wholeness fixed firmly within me. That is her writing style. Her poems tend to capture you and hold you in the lilt and sway of her basic, uncomplicated rhythms.
Phases of the Moon is a glorious concoction of poems that paint the richest pictures of an Awakening, ‘away from the grey and mechanic into the poetic and extraordinary’. In her opening poem, Shadow Dancing, Louise likens her soul to ‘a blown fuse’ as, through the process of writing, she begins to accept the frightening shadows that have haunted her for so long as spaces of potential discovery, ‘where there is life, death and love’. Striving desperately to throw off years of shackled emotions, her plea is heart wrenching and obvious in her poem Monday as she craves the ‘twisted love and yearning’ of life as opposed to one that merely ‘drips water along the windowpane’.
Her troubled childhood features strongly in many of her poems. In the poem Phases of the Moon she finds herself ‘walking the asphalt lights with jagged shards of memories’, a child cruelly deprived of ‘amber flight’. Similarly, in Inner Child we find her ‘cloaked in moth wings and dust’ as she ‘trips down present-day halls, corridors that smell of emptiness’.
Yet, far from being confessionals, these beautifully crafted poems shine softly like petals in sunlight: each one an epiphany that carries with it emerging hope as Louise, herself, becomes ‘a little poem that could’. Love, too, touches her like ‘a silken tendril along my skin’ as, freed now from the trammels of her past, she finds herself ‘embraced by the scent of warmer rain’.
Whilst certain themes do emerge from this collection, each poem is always glazed with a degree of purposeful ambiguity. Louise has perfected the technique of wrapping her poems in intrigue as her words take us towards familiar destinations via unfamiliar pathways. Step into any of her poems and there is always something new under the sun for us to discover.
Louise’s very first poetry collection, having touched just about every emotion it is possible to feel, leaves me thrumming with an inner contentment as her words linger like the aftertaste of strong chocolate. And the way in which she dips her poems into the universe and all its mysteries, for me, automatically draws out comparisons with the poetry of Mary Oliver.
It is so hard to choose a favourite poem from so many gems but I will leave you with the final lines of Seeing Zebras, a poem of time, mindfulness and liminal space, where:
‘In my underlying consciousness
lies linear time,
full of yesterday and tomorrow,
flowing through heart and lungs,
through endless breath
where love is earth’s glow off its edge.’