Susan Omand has no grumbles with the Grumbling Gargoyle’s latest poetry collection Whisperings & Wonderings by Lynn Gerrard...
Yes, I know, I know. This third collection of poetry from everyone’s favourite gargoyle has already been out for a few months but I haven’t had the time to give it a proper read until now. I will admit up front to being a fan of Lynn’s writing, having reviewed both of her other books before (here and here) so I was looking forward to seeing what this new collection contained.
As always there’s a gothic feel to a lot of the poems, with the first in the book, That Devilish Night, giving Edgar Allan Poe a run for his raven. However the poem also highlights the fact that there’s a more multi-hued tone to this book, with a better mix of humour throughout the dark workings of the poetry this time, a welcome difference from the previous collections where the odd brightly funny poem scattered through the otherwise sombre tone sometimes jarred for me. I like these shades of humour throughout a lot better as it makes the collection more consistent.
Of course, not all the poems have humour in and it is in the darker, bleaker work that Lynn always excels for me. Her descriptiveness and turns of phrase tear holes in my psyche and manage to say so much with so few words, leaving much to think about. Particular favourite phrases for me this time include “We are afloat upon a sea of indifference” and “I am a statistic in a news report, Succumbed to the tragedy of your disregard.” But this is not a collection of florid, angsty poetry. The matter of fact language with which Lynn tackles some very tough subjects, both from the media and in life, makes the emotion behind her words hit all the harder.
And there’s not just poetry in Whisperings & Wonderings. A nice addition to the book, like hidden tracks at the end of a CD, are a couple of short stories tucked away at the back which showcase Lynn’s adeptness at working in a longer form, with simple plots but strong characters and, as always, a good use of language. Another new inclusion for this collection are the author notes on a few of the poems, to explain the background or inspiration where it is important. This personal touch really adds to the meaning of the poem for me, giving added depth to the work.
All in all then, there’s lots to like and even more to mull over in Whisperings & Wonderings. If you’re already a fan of Lynn Gerrard’s work, either from reading the previous two books or from her writing online (follow @LynnGerrard on Twitter), then this new collection will not disappoint. And if you’re new to the gargoyle’s grumblings, this is a great place to start. You’ll hear no grumbles from me anyway.
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