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A heavily emblematic, sometimes baffling, collection is brought together by an insistence on place, an attempt to make allegory out of the everyday which treads a (sometimes) fine line between symbol and sarcasm: "Couples become biographies/As they plan their future flower- beds" ("Suburban Glass"). In the tradition of a symbolic poetry, enamoured of myth, Island to Island is ambitious and sophisticated, challenging its readers to an exercise in decoding which, when it works, can turn the writing into a palimpsest. Central to that wager is "The Madness of Heracles", a modernisation and urbanisation of the 12 labours of Hercules--"That all dangerous dogs are/Rounded up and banished/To a lonely island. The Isle/Of Dogs"--which, occupying nearly half the volume, sets the tone: allusive, clever, witty, occasionally more muddied than veiled. --Vicky Lebeau
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