Spoken Word

Poetry in motion
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The Independent Culture

This summer sees the release of two important recordings of poetry, both read by the poets themselves. Andrew Motion does a bit of presenting as well in Andrew Motion: Selected Poems 1976-1997 (Faber Penguin, 2hrs, £8.99). This is an attractive technique for recorded poetry, as it effectively "frames" poems which, when heard in never-ending line, can hit home relentlessly. As Motion is something of a media babe as well as being Poet Laureate, this collection will command interest. However, poetry is a personal thing, and Motion's 35 poems built around the personal trials and tribulations from two decades of his life hold for me no magic. It is the spell-binding retrospective of R S Thomas's pure, visionary poems in Sain's Voice of the Poet series which is going straight on my "Keep These" shelf. R S Thomas can be austere ("there are times when a black frost is on one's whole being/ and the heart in its bone belfry hangs and is dumb") but he is undoubtedly among the great, a true bard. He start

This summer sees the release of two important recordings of poetry, both read by the poets themselves. Andrew Motion does a bit of presenting as well in Andrew Motion: Selected Poems 1976-1997 (Faber Penguin, 2hrs, £8.99). This is an attractive technique for recorded poetry, as it effectively "frames" poems which, when heard in never-ending line, can hit home relentlessly. As Motion is something of a media babe as well as being Poet Laureate, this collection will command interest. However, poetry is a personal thing, and Motion's 35 poems built around the personal trials and tribulations from two decades of his life hold for me no magic. It is the spell-binding retrospective of R S Thomas's pure, visionary poems in Sain's Voice of the Poet series which is going straight on my "Keep These" shelf. R S Thomas can be austere ("there are times when a black frost is on one's whole being/ and the heart in its bone belfry hangs and is dumb") but he is undoubtedly among the great, a true bard. He started recording the 145 poems on his 86th birthday in 1999, and reads with magnificent authority. Producer Damian Walford Davies is to be congratulated.

Cold Hit. Read by Liza Ross (Isis, 11hrs 25mins, £20.49 inc p&p by mail order 08007315637)

Linda Fairstein is in real life one of the Manhattan district attorney's that she writes about, and there tends to be a didactic streak in her fast--moving thrillers. The theme in Cold Hit is rape - a cold hit is a DNA match linked from a corpse to a suspect - or indeed anyone whose DNA is recorded on the police database. What makes men rape and how much better things have been made for the women brave enough to report assaults is a running reprise behind a story which is actually much more to do with crooked dealings in the upper echelons of the art world.

Fairstein has plenty of fascinating angles on forgeries and auction room rings, but her real skill is in winning sympathy for her distinctly flawed central character ? Dennie, the gutsie poor girl made good who is found murdered and drowned in the opening scene. Our view of her is constantly shifting as we hear what her nearest and unreliably dearest have to say about her, but there is no doubt that it is she rather than the somewhat prissy and preachy first person narrator who is the real heroine of the tale.

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