Gig Ryan reviews 'Selected Poems 1967–2018' by Jennifer Maiden

Jennifer Maiden’s first books, Tactics (1974) and The Problem of Evil (1975), introduced a fantastically complex and enquiring poetry, with strangely fragmentary assemblages of character wrought from conflict. Both books were partly inspired by television’s gory nightly footage of the Vietnam War. While much poetry in the 1970s was of seditiously unvarnished protest, Maiden’s was intricate and stylised, poems toppling with moral dilemmas and extraordinary images, or restrained in pure lyricism such as ‘The Windward Side’: ‘The island has a windward side / walkless long and crossless wide / & winds across the cliff-face ride: / a woman’s face / caved in with pride / that craves for every blow.’

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Published in August 2018, no. 403