It is unusual for me to warm so
swiftly to a collection of poetry as I did to this debut publication by April
Ossmann. In fact it made me wonder why I had not encountered her work
before. Ossmann writes of a
world with which I can identify.
The world of the grey, rather than the black or white. Her work oozes a
questioning search for meaning which captures the reader from the first page.
Having said that at times I was sitting with a dictionary by my side as I
digested her work, so broad is her vocabulary. I do now know what an epergne
is. (A branched centre piece for the table)
In 'One' Ossmann begins the collection by considering the dichotomy of life
in the first two lines:
I wanted the
I didn't want
Immediately I was reminded of the fickleness of life and indeed the almost
childlike behavior that we all exhibit when in our western consumerist world:
when we get what we wanted - we don't want it any more. Whatever we want is
never enough and this causes an inner struggle to find the contented way that
Ossmann peruses throughout her work.
It's all too easy to slip the word spirituality into a review of poetry, but
at the risk of being a cliche. I did sense the spiritual quest was ever
present in this collection. That
is not to say that Ossmann presents us with easy answers. Far from it.
In 'Satisfaction' there is venom of jealousy of that sense of being contented
is almost tangible.
got legs to dance on
the body that
look nice in
the dress, the finger
look right in the ring.
even if what
you don't have
is more real
than what you do.
The fact that her companion, or indeed in the way that we so often consider
that other people lives are better than our own, when they are filled with
all the insecurities that we feel is at the heart of this poem.
With the issues that Ossmann wrestles with, this is an honest if challenging
short initial collection. Musical? - possibly. Anxious? - definitely.
© Alan West 2007