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The Wedding Spy
Categories: 21st Century, First Collections, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (82 pages)
(Pub. Dec 2001)
The Wedding Spy is in truth a double agent, written by a poet who has spent half of her life in the United States and half in the United Kingdom. She understands both countries, but belongs to neither and therefore has an outsider's perspective wherever she goes. Her poems reflect this blend of keenly perceived familiarity with an unending restlessness.
Poems in the first section have American themes, touching on family, childhood and later, disillusionment with the American dream. These poems cover changes over a span of fifty years.
The next group is about love and the end of love. The poems are direct, touching, sometimes caustic, witty and often tender. Chase's American, bold use of language brings these poems to life.
The poet then invites us to enter the mysterious, formal world of movement, meditation and martial arts. She includes a group of poems which reflect her thirty years of devotion to the practice of Tai Chi. From that world, she writes love poems, makes social comment and examines the student teacher relationship.
The final section is about people's lives, their ideas, their talents and their deaths. These people are artists, dancers, actors, designers as well as political radicals, children, prisoners, students, hospital patients and teachers. The final poem examines the career choice between teaching Tai Chi and writing poetry. The poet asks how effective printed words are when we compare them with the actual flesh and blood of human interactions. 'Seal the ink with hand heat and feel again/how I touched you. Glow with that rouge.'
'The Wedding Spy is a lucid, intelligent collection that doodles with traditional form and which scopes the poet's own life.'
Vic Allen, North magazine.
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