Unthinkable Skies by Juliet Wilson. Calder Wood Press, 2010. ISBN 978- 1- 906269-28-5
Juliet Wilson has a reputation as a poet who cares deeply about the natural world. But the poems that really stand out in her latest collection, Unthinkable Skies, are not those that deal with man's impact on the environment. The real gems in this work give a more direct insight into the poet's take on human relationships. It is here that Wilson shows true form, as she employs everyday images to describe the unbridgeable chasm that exists, inevitably, between lovers. In 'Drift', the writer reflects on childhood times, playing with a jigsaw map - she realises in later life that she is no closer to her lover than Africa is to Brazil. 'Return' is more positive, again using the map and jigsaw motif, but distance, thankfully, is abandoned in the last line. In 'Alchemy', a young couple try to build a kind of love in a war zone - 'The pull of vestigial wings between their shoulders / lifts them above their troubled town.' And this, from 'Unblinded' - 'Eyes closed, you read the Braille / of your lover's face, / feel her breath on your skin. / Her heartbeat in the dark.'
There is a gently pulsing vein of sadness throughout this collection, although the poems never become melancholy - far from it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Unthinkable Skies, and will definitely be on the lookout for Juliet Wilson's next book.
Juliet Wilson blogs at http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com/
Calder Wood Press http://www.calderwoodpress.co.uk/