Displacement and journeying underpin this engaging, second poetry collection by Katherine Stansfield. Having moved from her childhood Cornwall to Wales, she scrutinises the disjunctions and points of contact between the places, languages and cultures of these sister countries before turning her wry observations to wider but related themes of moving between more distant lands and tongues. Everywhere she is sharply aware of people’s perceptions and expectations of each other, their resort to tired stereotypes of national identity, but also of the limits of her own preliminary readings of situations. Life on the cusp of language acquisition and the motivations and absurdities encountered in the learning are adroitly dissected, but there is warmth and tenderness too in her examination of the fragility of human communication.
Whether reflecting on the Wittgensteinian problem of mapping our worlds within the limits of our language, on phobias of flags or of flying, or voicing a roguish supermarket trolley’s invitation to break free of societal constraints, Stansfield’s work constantly surprises and delights. With their unexpected, oblique turns and their quirky worldview, these engaging poems give highly distinctive voice to a strongly individual talent.
'A humorous, perceptive and erudite collection that deepens our understanding and perception of language and identity.'
Luanne Thornton, New Welsh Review
'To read her is to be submerged in her experiences, to be offered a portal into someone else’s sensibility.'
Thomas Tyrrell, Wales Arts Review