|Angela Topping’s poems are full of joy, tempered by sadness and always unflinchingly honest. She writes in a range of voices, always concentrating on the human experience, sometimes through unusual routes, like bricks, shoes, a single glove. These are poems in which the senses inform the striking imagery, where love is measured in actualities, and observation is close and truthful. Her feet are firmly rooted to the earth, though her head may be full of dreams and memories. Her working class childhood combined with her subsequent immersion in Literature, and passion for writing from an early age, combine to make her work accessible as well as poetically exciting. I Sing of Bricksis her fourth book for adults. If you have not yet been converted to her magical poetry, this chapbook is a wonderful introduction.
Shoes wear the imprint of the foot:
Worn shoes meld to every bone;
Breath from a shoe’s open mouth
Mary Janes or winkle-pickers,
You put your best foot forward,
Angela Topping has the knack of making the reader see things anew, of reinventing lyrical forms, and of disarming sceptics like myself with the ‘unexpected love’ which occurs throughout this carefully ordered and original work.
These are poems that come alive as they negotiate the small details that make meaning in a life, meeting the end of love and
Deryn Rees Jones
A husband abandons thrift in a small, sudden gesture of love. Two people swim together for the last time, but the unspoken back-story stays under the surface. In a basement kitchen, a cook creates a world of sensual colour.
Poems that start in places like these are sometimes dismissed as “anecdotal”, but that is a mistake. Most unforgettable, transcendent moments happen in quite commonplace surroundings, which is just as well, since that is where most of us live. We need to find our meanings, our significance, in just such places, and it is one of the things poems like these can help us do.
Angela Topping sings of bricks and cups and perfect grapes. She sings of the concrete, the power of objects, like a spell to ward off loss.
Angela Topping’s poems are deceptively simple, singing modern lullabies to the bottomless hole left in hearts by death and absence, by the failure of speech and love. Her work examines hurt without flinching, in a poetry that does not prevaricate or make pretty patterns with language where only straight-talking will answer.