Friendly Fire

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Finished my first reading of Jennifer Maiden’s prize-winning collection, Friendly Fire this week, and enjoyed much of it, particularly poems like The Japanese Garden I, but maybe in the end it’s a bit too obviously a political book for my taste.

One one hand, isn’t it good to see a contemporary poetry so firmly meshed in the world of our news and our newspapers, the cut and thrust of politics: Bush, Rice and all that. But on the other hand will many of these poems stand the test of time, be more than historical curiosities in ten years time ? So that they sing so powerfully about ‘now’! is both a virtue and a flaw for me.

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2 thoughts on “Friendly Fire

  1. Hi Warwick – I enjoy your blog and am a regular visitor.

    I started reading a lot of Jennifer Maiden’s work last year. I read her previous book ‘Mines’, a book that contains her Madeline Albright poems (I think some of these are available at Jacket magazine) and these still worked for me as poems even though that era was over – I guess I’m offering that as a bit of anecdotal evidence that I think these can work in years to come. And with Bush and Rice being such huge global figures maybe they can even work many years into the future.

    Incidentally, the current issue of Heat magazine has a JM poem about the New Orleans flood that belongs with the ‘George Jeffries’ series in the book, fantastic poem.

    Thanks for the blog.

  2. Thanks for the feedback ali jane; I haven’t read the earlier book so I’ll seek it out. Maybe I was being a little bit pessimistic, when I think about it, plenty of political poems have stood the test of time over the years.

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