Sunday, November 29, 2015



The Invisible Girl by E.E. Nobbs
(Doire Press, Co., Galway, Ireland / available directly from the author) 


It is hard to pick a poem from this collection that provides an overall picture of the essence of the whole. If you are looking to find poetry that hooks you from the start and takes you to places that will delight and surprise, cause laughter and tears, and make you think about the nature of the environment in all its diversity, then look no further.

You will learn what it is like for a young girl growing up on a farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada—the sense of isolation and loneliness is tangible in some of the poems, like “Childless in the City”:

She has no-one to tell

about years of slick wet babies
shivering in mangers until
            they were licked dry in stalls, warmed

by rough, comforting tongues

……………… she has no-one to tell

It is a joy to progress through these poems and find what is invisible become visible as with the poem “Sisters”:

We have nothing in common
when we stand too close
together in the glare of sunlight
but – if she sits there next to that low-wattage
lamp ……………………

                        I see now what we share.
First time in years.

You will learn of the growing sense of belonging, of family connections, a deep understanding of the environment, love and loss. E. E Nobbs deals with these subjects with wit, humour, and a strong voice that often has an intentional quirkiness all of its own as in “Nothing Really Rhymes with Rhubarb.”

And, in contrast, there is the short and beautiful “Documentary” which challenges us to ask questions about ourselves:

At the end, we see
the blue whale and her calf. Breaching –
                        their two tales puncture
the ocean's clean slate,
their motion like mime
or signing. Perhaps they know
                        we're deaf.

And as with any poetry collection there is usually one poem – different for every reader – that epitomises the enigma of this invisible girl. My own personal choice would be:

 (Re-reading Anne of Green Gables) -

Anne Shirley! Will you please come back for me?
Tragically, I missed you at the station.
My watch was slow, the last train came early
and steel tracks stole away my childish passions.


and much more -

If this does not make you curious  to know why she should come back, I would be very surprised and I strongly recommend you read this collection to find out. It will be well worth your time.


Valerie Morton is a British poet who has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies and whose first collection Mango Tree was published in 2013 by Indigo Dreams Publishing. Her second collection 'Handprints' is to be published later in 2015.

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