Alchemy of Passion by Steve Anderson is a long-running history of Knaresborough ranging from Old Mother Shipton’s prophesies to soldier’s waiting to head off to World War One and beyond. The poems are deeply rooted in place and the people stand out as much as the landscapes to show a clear map of life in the area.
And old love in a corner with smudged lips
left her mind in Scarborough years ago.
Hangs her nose beneath the teapot lid
-One Lump or Two?
My two favourites from the collection were Truffles of Love and Opposites.
Some of the poems feel a little bit overly prosaic and a few feel a bit forced in terms of subject or blunt in execution. Even so this is an interesting collection tackling a very specific area. I had (by coincidence) visited Knaresborough the day before I read this and a lot of the feeling of the area was captured, putting this collection in a distinctive geographic place.