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Being there

December 2008–January 2009, no. 307

View From The Lucky Hotel by Sandy Fitts

Five Islands Press, $19.95 pb, 83 pp

Being there

December 2008–January 2009, no. 307

There are traces of a constant, oscillating motion of conscience in Sandy Fitts’s poetry. References to the burden of ‘history’ pit the poems, with ‘history’ standing for everything we need to address in the present, through the power of eloquence, but also in fear that such words are not enough. From the opening, prize-winning poem, ‘Waiting for Goya’, to the closing images of ‘Blue Mop’, the act of poetry emerges and is scrutinised for what it might do in the world:

 our figures leaning      toward each other

    to exchange a few uncertain words

about the mop-    utility-   aesthetics-

Wars, inquisitions and human horror confront the poet, but is poetry sufficient, can ‘poetic diction’ ever really carry the gravitas of change and amelioration in the world?

Another word which emerges again and again in the poems is ‘theory’. It is an odd, slippery word here, often used to mean something like the random thoughts of the poet figure (‘Theories on a Bicycle’), sometimes seeming to signify false consciousness, as in the lines from the prose poem ‘Củ Chi Tunnels’:

We live in a simulacra now, said Baudrillard, there’s no real          experience

left. Though stayed home to say it. Noisy clown, he refused to        test his theory

on an active battleground.

Lyn McCredden reviews 'View From The Lucky Hotel' by Sandy Fitts

View From The Lucky Hotel

by Sandy Fitts

Five Islands Press, $19.95 pb, 83 pp

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