poetry in brief

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2 Making Blue (Peterloo pounds 6.95) is Diana Hendry's first collection, though her name has been appearing in little mags for a few years. The blue of the title is the Aegean, which dominates the opening clutch of poems set in Crete, and also that other blue (rhyming with "you") which insinuates itself into a million love songs. "Look - now/there's joining, now dividing" will do equally well for sea and sky, tourists and star- crossed lovers. I especially liked "The Arkady Ferry" and "The Lace Makers": "such a blinding white it's as if death itself/has been washed and sunned and the table laid for wine/and the bed for love and on each sheet and spread/ there's lace to compensate for all that's rough on us ... " There's the occasional Plathism, not quite enough trust to let particulars tell the story and let the moral go hang, but the fresh eye that shines in her children's novels - she won the Whitbread in 1991 - is even more alert in these heart-searchings for grown-ups.

William Scammell