Jack Ross, ed.: Spin 42 (March 2002)
Wensley Willcox, A Woman in Green. Wellington: Steele Roberts, 2001. 88pp. RRP $19.95. ISBN 1-877228-45-1.
Wensley Willcox: A Woman in Green (2001)
Wensley Willcox has been a regular contributor to Spin for some time now, and many of these poems (“A Woman in Green” itself, for instance) first saw the light in our pages. One impressive thing about the book, though, is how extensively these, and all the other poems she’s gathered from her writing life, have been revised and worked over before being included here. They’ve been pruned, and dissected, and rearranged, and the results fully justify the effort, I think. Take “Ice Fishing,” for example:
or writing a poem
ambition is confined to
a carefully excavated hole
a hand-held line
through treacherous ice
Having seen this poem in its earlier, prose form, I can testify to the ruthless resolve required to cut it down so far. Yet now it sounds completely natural – as if that were all it was ever meant to say. I’m sure we’ve all got a lot to learn from this example of craftsmanship and patience. The book is meant particularly “for all of us torn by the push-me pull-you conflict between the roles we juggle: child/parent/lover/spouse,” as the blurb explains.