Friday 20 November 2020

Review by Colin Gardiner of "Maskwork" by Gregory Leadbetter

I read somewhere that poetry is an echo-chamber for the mind. I can’t remember who wrote that, but that idea stuck with me, and when I read or write poems I am always searching for the wave.

The poems in Maskwork by Gregory Leadbetter reverberate around the mind like tuning forks, illuminating hidden corners of the subconscious.

The instinctive nature of concealing one’s true identity is deftly revealed in the clear and direct syntax of the title poem:

          To teach the mask I make
          to tell the truth, I wear it
          as my own: feel its weight tilt

Leadbetter’s imagery is lyrical and evocative, whilst still grounded in the everyday. 

His style of magic-realism uses the effects of altered perception and the redemptive magic of music to reveal moments of self discovery and awareness that resonate with the reader:

          And then I was there: the blind road
          emptied into a field, as if
          where I stepped a sudden breath 
          had blown the earth to a sphere of glass.

I was particularly moved by the poem ‘Personal Computing’ where Leadbetter conveys the harrowing effects of dementia of a loved one through the prism of childhood memories:

          The future has come and gone.
          I am still watching the flickering screen
          waiting for all we have lost to load.

I found echoes of pure beauty and mystery in this intriguing collection of accessible poetry. I hope more readers will catch the waves too.

About the reviewer
Colin Gardiner has recently completed his MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. He lives in Coventry with his husband. He writes short stories and poems and has been published by The Ekphrastic Review, Ink Pantry, The Midnight Street Press and the Creative Writing at Leicester blog. More of his work can be read here

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