£10 Poems (2008)


This latest collection has a dark tone. Deane’s world is one in which he is witness to the despairs and joys which is life. Provocation, not subtlety, is the writer’s special effect. He demonstrates this in two poems: ‘Sea Lake’ and ‘Prehistoric’. ‘Sea Lake’ plays on the anxieties we feel in the age of global warming: ‘This land / is a drowning land. // Red chalk earth / stirred by // a desert northerly, / choking you,’ while “Prehistoric” has the flavor of a cautionary tale:

I dreamt
I died
in the compression,
became a seam
of brown coal

These sentiments mess with a reader’s head. It is the compression and the feeling of being buried alive that both repel and attract us, and around which the poet navigates his thoughts ... Sweet, sour, comic, cosmic, Deane’s wisdom lies in its fidelity: to the fox that strikes suddenly, and to the lamb that escapes to the ‘stolen field’. Deane bears witness, and we relish the confirmation of his testimony