Reviews: West South North, North South East (1)

As well as including my poem ‘Berlin’, the current issue of the Frogmore Papers includes a nice review from Peter Stewart of my debut poetry collection, West South North, North South East.

‘Among many fine poems in Daniel Bennett’s debut collection, ‘Still Life’ remarks on the featured delicious apples whose green/ will always remind us of pond scum/ circulating in islands. There is a dissonance in the image that takes you out of the frame and into wider reality of change and mortality. The fruit ends up rotting and fermenting, sad as broken alcoholics. I loved the attention to detail and the complex moods of these poems. Their titles often resonate in subtle ways with the lines that follow. Even the punctuation is carefully chosen. The comma in Oh I envy you, sometimes (from ‘These Roots of Implacable Longing’) seems deliberate and loaded with nuance. Along with delicacy there is also a vivid directness that pulls the rug from under any commonplace. The triptych poem ‘Three Scent Bottles’ begins: Those were days of white musk and paraffin. Many of the poems are about places, but, as the quote from Julien Gracq at the front of the book makes clear: ‘a vague feeling that location was irrelevant’. Like the title of the volume itself, the poems create a sense of both movement and stasis, of going somewhere and nowhere at the same time.’

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