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Bodies of Glass

By Crystal Warren

ISBN: 0-620-33663-3
Review by: Moira Richards


Bodies of Glass works very well as title for this first poetry chapbook from Crystal Warren. As I read through it the word ‘fragile’ slid into my head and followed my excursion through its pages. The collection evokes for me a sense of the delicate fragility and surprising strength of a hand-blown glass vessel.

Crystal writes of the little, big uncertainties that punctuate a person’s life – about waiting on the outcome of a biopsy, a brain scan, or a new love affair. She explores aspects of everyday living that may seem small, commonplace when viewed in the context of world affairs, but which are momentous occurrences for the person whose life is touched by them. Her poetry meditates on the frailties of her narrator’s body, of her faith sometimes, and even on the frangibility of fears, and all with an unflinching gaze into the narrator’s psyche.

The poems never display any hint of self-pity or wallow, indeed many of them exhibit touches of delightful wryness, as in this last stanza of "Too soon,"

We wait for results
and wonder when
we became old enough
to be malignant.

The poetry in Bodies of Glass comprises short, deceptively simple pieces written in a clear and direct diction -- small crystalline bits of thought that sparkle when the light falls upon them, if you’ll forgive my punning. The chapbook was published with the assistance of the Centre for the Book’s Community Publishing Project which has been of help to so many new writers in South Africa in the last couple of years.

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