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Poetry Review.

Words. By Nancy Gauquier.

Weird City Books. PO Box 8245. Santa Cruz. CA 95061


Nancy Gauquier's poems are written to be performed, a cascade of demotic rhetoric, rich in caustic wit and insight, as if her desperation at the ironies, cruelties and injustices of the world force her into the release of words, proving that sheer ardour of denunciation has meaning and value.

Nancy is worried, angst-ridden, honest, direct and full of vigour. In 'How Are You?' she says:

'People answer 'fine', but -

I'm allergic to something

and I don't know what,

but I fear it might be something unavoidable

like life.'

She doesn't want to leave, though, and go to Heaven, because Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and his entire family

'are all going to Heaven,

this Heaven sounds like

one terrifying neighbourhood to me.'

She confronts fashionable efforts to refuse aging with:

'You're either dead or you're aging,

there are only two choices

you get in this life.'

True, and funny. But her poems in themselves prove that the world has joy in it - if nothing else, the joy of words. Once or twice she transcends the rhetoric of performance poetry, and in 'Global Warning' deploys an altogether higher rhetoric, ending a powerful tirade with:

'The furies are spinning shrouds

of black clouds.

as the mercury is rising,

the ice caps are melting

and the polar bears drown

in an empty sea.'

She complains that her Muse is:

'a lame old nag,

an estranged dark horse

shrouded in shadow'

The music of that verse proves in itself that this is not true. Her Muse is a horse which gallops out of the shadows, the flag of pessimism waved with a mordant wit which is itself a redeeming weapon.

Finally, she proves herself an authentic poet of a kind which peformance can't compass, writing:


I don't want words.

I just want the empty

spaces between them.'

ending the poem

'. . . .time sits

and looks at you

with a wry grin,

as if you are standing

on a lone mountain top,

where the view has you

breathless, and you know

there are no words.'

Believe me, this is where poetry comes from, and when they come from this place, words are real.


a line

The book, and more information is available on Nancy's Web-Site at

All rights reserved by the author. No reproductions without consent.


© Winamop 2006