Linda Goulden’s new pamphlet, Speaking parts, is a collection of 28 poems written in 28 voices. In full disclosure, I must a say I know Linda Goulden and only admire her work, so you won’t be wondering whether I will recommend you get a copy as you already know you should get a copy. You should also go see her perform if the opportunity arises.
As I said, the poems reflect different voices, sometimes from history (Mary Stuart), sometimes from non-humans (a bee queen or a catch from the sea), sometimes from characters in a painting, and sometimes from her own fertile mind. Goulden takes obvious delight in language, as is the poet’s wont, and the result is strikingly original phrasing.
Some of her poems utilise the occasional rhyme, and some do not, but none of the poems ignores meter or form, and none falls into a repetitive meter with predictable rhymes. Each poem brings its own surprises in language that is both soft and compelling. Some of the poems require a bit of attention to get the meaning, as they are not superficial, but your efforts reap their rewards in short order. (That last bit is for people like me who have short attention spans and tend to lose interest before unraveling lengthy metaphors or allegories.)