The end of the year was a very appropriate time to read and savour this collection of forty-three poems by Angela France, taking us through time and change and closing with ‘Living Yule,’ and I appreciated many of the sentiments expressed throughout. Terminarchy is about the last of a species and speaks about our experience of the world as we come to terms with what feels like a precipice moment.
The poems speak to many of our concerns about the changing climate, and we can all agree with the voice of Sparrow, whose character interjects with concerns about the unexpected mildness of the seasons: ‘we’ll pay for this’; another character called Wantwite acts as the embodiment of materialism, coming to life to then suffer the consequences.
I enjoy sinking into descriptions of the unique English countryside, so I relished descriptions like ‘flickering clutter of town’ and ‘a violet nestles in a knuckle of root’ and enjoyed the scene setting. The subtle villanelle of ‘Blame’ was particularly powerful and serves as a microcosm of the collection.
I will say that I felt the worldly concern more readily than I felt the hope; there was a subtle sense throughout of a kind of rejection of technology and progress which I entirely understand but found less easy to read; mentions of Spotify and ‘the new build’ read a little binary (nature: good; technology: bad) and while I agree in part, I feel that our relationship with these new developments may end up being part of the solution.
As an expression of where we are now, Terminarchy is a thoughtful assembly of poems. The positives in this changing world are hard to pinpoint; one of the things that can help us reflect on the part we have to play is this kind of collection.
Rosa Fernandez is a slam-winning poet and sometime proofreader. She also enjoys wearing silly hats.