Kathryn Maris

God Loves You

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Kathryn Maris borrows rhythms, vocabulary and themes from the Bible in her new collection of poems. Although a sly wit is in evidence, the result is far more than artful parody: it is an approach that ushers in large themes, unfolding them in surprising ways. The first section,'What will the neighbours think?', offers a kaleidoscopic view of the sins and sinners of the modern city and opens, appropriately enough, with a vision of a flood to rival Noah's.The poems feature domestic discord, gossip, suicide, celebrity, and anxieties about children and spouses. It says much about her meticulous poise and tone that we are lured into these scenarios with our sympathies fully engaged. The following sections subvert scripture more directly.A mock-prayer opens: 'My father, who art in heaven,/ sits under an umbrella that is his firmament'; a sonnet begins:'Kyrie eleison! I said it in the pub.'Such burlesque moments mask poignant themes of praise or blame.A skilful use of form is characteristic, as in the sestina 'Darling, Will You Please Pick up those Books?' Other pieces are set out in the numbered style of psalms or parables but have an entirely contemporary edge and are darkly funny. These poems sometimes recall another expatriate American living in London, the T.S. Eliot of the Four Quartets, sharing something of his ironic methods and essential tensions – but Maris brings her own inimitable brand of humour to the mix. 'This has a Dorothy Parker air, metropolitan and crowded, intimate with other lives whose own limits may never be known.' George Szirtes on The Book of Jobs 'There's a delicious sense of both open-mindedness and devilry in Maris's work. Her company is quirky, stimulating and sparklingly intelligent.You could say she's like Sylvia Plath with added chutzpah. But, really, Kathryn Maris is like no-one but herself.' Carol Rumens
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29 printed pages
Original publication


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