|2001 Winner of the Hugh MacDiarmid Trophy, Loughborough-based poet Deborah Tyler-Bennett presents her eagerly-awaited first collection. With a wealth of material to her name, Deborah has seen almost two hundred poems accepted for publication in well-known journals, anthologies and e-zines both in Britain and abroad, along with a number of short fiction pieces.
Currently editor of the journal The Coffee House, Deborah has also enjoyed considerable success with her poems in competitions, winning the Hugh MacDiarmid Trophy UK section award in 2001.
The work in this collection is in many ways a distillation and a statement of her main themes, as exemplified by the landscapes she has visited. The book falls naturally into five sections: Kirk Alloway, taking its name from the poem which won the MacDiarmid Trophy, is concerned with the poet's ongoing affair of the heart with Scotland and things Scottish; Reservations chronicles her trip to Calgary, Canada; Paris is represented by just two poems, each one an exquisite pointilliste gem; the section Of Ireland contains some fine observations too, notably "By Patrick Kavanagh", selected as the BBC's on-line poem in 2001.
But she truly comes into her own in the section entitled Clark Gable in Mansfield; the poems here are a very powerful fusion of family memories and East Midland roots, the title poem recording a family memory of the Hollywood star visiting Mansfield "as if Mansfield was glamorous Palm Springs". Anyone who writes about this sort of material nowadays lives under the shadow of D. H. Lawrence, but make no mistake, Deborah Tyler-Bennett speaks in her own voice, and a fine, distinctive one it is, too.