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The Art of Falling
The Art of Falling
Kim Moore's lively debut, sets out her stall firmly in the North. The title poem riffs on the many sorts of falling "so close to falling or to falter or to fill"
There is a visit to a spiritualist,a train trip from Barrow to Sheffield and a Tuesday at Wetherspoons. The author's experience as a peripatetic brass teacher sparks several poems.'How I Abandoned My body To His Keeping' is the story of a relationship marked by coercion and violence.A final section includes a selection of character portraits including John Lennon and the violinist on the Titanic
Paperback; H:216; W:138
Kim Moore is from Barrow and teaches the trumpet in school. Her poetry is as alive as every day.
As she says, "I come from people who swear without realising they're swearing. I come from scaffolders and plasterers and shoemakers and carers."
She sings A Psalm for the Scaffolders who balanced like tight-rope walkers." It is "A psalm for those who don't like rules".
And she writes of teaching the trumpet. "Imagine you are spitting tea-leaves / from your tongue to start each note." And she has a whole set of curses ready for those who don't respect her instrument: "A curse on a girl / who stuffed a pompom down her cornet / and then said it was her invisible friend who did it."
Kim Moore has poems for all the occasions of everyday life. Her poetry is a celebration of who she is.
She sees the people around her. In Weatherspoons, she notices that "All the men have comb-overs, bellies like cakes just-baked,/ risen to roundness." Or, on the train from Barrow to Sheffield "the fluorescent lights / and the dark outside make my face look like / a dinner plate . . . and there's chewing gum / stuck to the table and the guard is rude". She still loves the train, "its sheer unstoppability / its relentless pressing on and the way / the track stretches its limb across the estuary."
And there will be times when she thinks of Bowness "and the ice-cream shop with twenty-six flavours", but, especially "how it looks in the rain, as if the shops/ were made of water, of ducking into a doorway / and carrying the smell of rain inside."
After work, she "walks the dogs as dusk begins / its slow descent between the trees /the drift of leaves, the greyness in the air".
Her life is alive. Even an argument is something to praise. "And one half of the house / hated the other half / and the blinds wound / themselves around each other . . . and the washing gathered / in corners and sulked."
When she goes to St Bees for a performance of The Messiah "everywhere is covered in snow / and the priory is a huge mouth / swallowing the cold, as if the snow / has come to dispel all memory / of that day in June, the sudden heat of it / the constant call of sirens". She thinks of the crazed gunman and the people "who hadn't heard the news, who / would stop and help a passing driver / without thinking." She remembers that day "when villages, hardly talked about before / were the names on everybody's lips."
She is aware of something deeper, a sense that "If we could speak like wolves", "if before we met / we sent our lonely howls across the estuary / where in the fading light wader birds stiffen /and take to the air".
There is behind the everyday the art of falling, the coming of autumn, of the fall and the darker evenings "which means walks with the dogs / which means walking alone / and not falling apart at the sound / of your name, which God / help me, sounds like falling."
This is Kim's first full collection of poems. Her poetry is strong and direct, it smacks of the life she leads, but, unlike the rest of us, she faces and lives with the violence and hurt, the darkness. Her poetry achieves a balance like a tight-rope walker even when she is falling. That is where the art lies.
Kim Moore will be reading her poetry at the Borderlines Literary Festival in Carlisle, September 3rd to September 6th.
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