Wendy Falla has a sharp eye for detail and a great ear for dialogue, sometimes alternating between standard English and the patois of Sark. She is a natural story teller and her poems are beautifully observed narratives which reveal a deep and sympathetic knowledge of this unique Channel Island from where she originally comes. The Venus Pool is not only a poetic document, it creates a kind of spiritual geography which evokes an extraordinary island which has looked in all directions but which has its own distinct culture. Falla has made herself the poet laureate of Sark and we all benefit from this. She writes restrained yet vivid accounts of family life, she creates quirky vignettes of domesticity and she lays out the drama of the German occupation in the 1939-45 War. Falla bears witness, in a number of ways, to the idiosyncrasies and resilience of an island people. The geography and history of Sark are in effect mapped out by the poems which, in their freshness and natural sympathy, conceal their considerable artistry. This is a tremendously good debut collection.
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