The Malarkey by Helen Dunmore
Bloodaxe Books (ebook), 2012
I borrowed this ebook from my library and read it on my Kobo.
Why did you tell them to be quiet
and sit up straight until you came back?
The malarkey would have led you to them.
This collection includes poems from seven previous collections. The poems are how the present longs for the past and the way memory stretches. This is the poet’s first collection since 2007.
Helena Dunmore is a poet I’m not familiar with. Her name is vaguely familiar so I’ve probably read her stuff in anthologies. I chose this collection because I like the title and cover.
I enjoyed reading The Malarkey. One contrast I noticed between this collection and the last couple I’ve read is that the poems didn’t feel quite as personal as, for example The Adoption Papers. Kay’s collection is autobiographical so that’s to be expected. However, Dreaming Frankenstein & Collected Poems 1967-1984 by Liz Lochhead felt more personal than Dunmore’s collection. I felt quite distant at times from the poems in The Malarkey. The poems were well written and enjoyable to read. I only felt a deep emotional connection with some of them. I prefer poems that affect me emotionally. There are also a few pieces in The Malarkey written in the style of very short stories or mini-essays. I didn’t really enjoy these. I like poems I read to look and feel like a poem thank you very much. I did enjoy The Malarkey and would read more of Dunmore’s work.