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Second hand; Katerina Brac

I went to buy vegetables from the market today. My mode of transport for the 15 mile trip was a bicycle, the weather was unhelpful, my was backpack heavy with apples and potatoes. Before leaving the city to head back out to my village I saw that a second-hand bookshop was advertising everything at half price. How could I resist.
After my usual starting perusal of the children’s section, partly to find books for my son and partly to seek out long forgotten gems from my childhood which inspire a particular kind of melancholy , I proceeded damply to the poetry section where I spied ‘Katerina Brac’ by Christopher Reid. It was Faber. It was £1. It was half price. I bought it.

This afternoon I had a chance to look through some of the 47 pages. My only previous exposure to Reid’s work was ‘In the Echoey Tunnel’ which I liked some of but didn’t love, and some of ‘A Scattering’ which I read whilst standing in a bookshop.
I’ve also read an interveiw in which Reid denies having ever been a ‘martian’ poet.

Reid uses the voice of Katerina Brac, who we are informed by the back cover is
a ‘..too little-known poet’ whom Reid has translated from an unspecified country. On the whole I found these supposedly translated poems moving and Reid’s voicing of the young woman poet convincing. There are some brilliant poems here.  I’ve posted ‘Pale-Blue Butterflies’ on my favourite poem of the week page.  For future and more erudite information and opinion on this collection and other works by Reid there are articles here and here .

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