Brandl and Schlesinger, $24.95 pb, 74 pp
The subtle beauty of the title of Sarah Day’s new collection of poetry, Grass Notes, epitomises the lightness of touch and intensity that characterises the poems. This is a collection of observing what might otherwise be seen as slight or glancing, yet that offers powerful prisms of insight. In a Whitmanesque mode, Day’s perspective not only looks up from the grass into the vastness of the world, but also looks at the grass itself, the unexceptional yet foundational ground of all perception and experience. Perhaps as the poet scribbles ‘notes’ in that grass, there is also an echo of Wordsworth and post-romantics such as Judith Wright or Mary Oliver. The title also chimes homophonically with the idea of the musical ‘grace note’, that small, quick, note that runs into the next and, in its delicacy, makes that central sound, or image, both more appealing and more complex. In Day’s work, it is the delicacy of such lateral images, often derived from close consideration of the natural world, that complicates and enriches the ideas at work within the poems.