Luke Kennard reviewed by Jade Cuttle
The Harbour Beyond the Movie (Salt)
by Luke Kennard
Luke Kennard’s second collection is hallmarked by humour, wisdom and wit, the beating heart of his artistic brilliance. It’s a collection which speaks in swords, stabbing its scar across the imagination as we slip out of our slippers and into the shoes of characters inhabiting strange new worlds, from pig-shaped absence to picnics with a murderer, from life inside an hourglass to letters from a centipede. This avalanche of abstractions also includes intimate relations with a ghost, the assassination of a ventriloquist, interviews with a wave, breeze and fire and prosecution over poetic negligence of a tree. A surprisingly sharp sense of self-awareness arises from this beautiful violence upon the imagination, with poems bending over backwards to examine the wounds they inflict; “language is the key I stick in your eye”. Indeed, the twists and turns of his language unlock the imagination, wiping away the dust that gathers in the attic of our minds.
To read this book is to realise that the reins of reality are supposed to slip, once in a while, from our firm grip and be at the whim of the poem itself, a poem which becomes master of the poet as soon as they drag out the chains. “What if, doctor, we need these knots and these tangles because they’re the only things holding our souls down – if we untied the knots and untangled the tangles (…) would our souls just float away?” These pages have bounds but Kennard’s imagination has not, and his poetry refuses to be tied down or restrained.
Jade Cuttle is studying at the University of Cambridge, is an editor at Cambridge Creatives and a regular contributor for a range of magazines. She is a recipient of two Foyle Young Poets Awards, has won competitions including Ledbury Poetry Festival Competition, National Student Poetry Competition and BBC Proms Poetry Competition – recently featured on Radio 3 – and is looking to publish her first pamphlet. Tweets @JadeCuttle