The Red Sea: New and Selected Poems
Baskerville Publishers, US$19.95 hb, 112 pp, 9781880909782
Stephen Edgar shows us the dazzling pleasures of poetry that is ‘strictly ballroom’. Some years ago in a Greek restaurant, I was having lunch with Edgar, Martin Harrison, and Robert Gray. My fellow diners began excitedly discussing the finer technical points of a range of verse meters. Edgar said that he had written poems using sprung verse, syllabics, and regularly accented meters. I became as quiet as a nun who finds herself in the middle of an animated conversation about the Kama Sutra. Fixed forms alarm me. I have never attempted a conventional sonnet in the Shakespearean or Petrarchan form, a technical exercise that is as elementary for Edgar as is a handstand for an acrobat. My competence in using fixed forms does not extend much beyond the traditional iambic pentameter with its five reassuring dee-dums per line.