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Review: Twenty Four Preludes and Fugues on Dmitri Shostakovich, by Joanna Boulter

Glynn Pursglove, 'Poetry Comment', Acumen 58, May 2007

...a distinctive and accomplished piece of work... an extended sequence which takes its general shape from the eponymous composition by Shostakovich (Op. 87 for piano).

[Joanna Boulter's] fine sequence of poems is a study in the demands of private and public in Shostakovich's work and life, of how the music is a place in which the dictates of artistic conscience meet another kind of dictatorship. In the Process the figure of Shostakovich serves to express the larger experience of living in a state (State) of fear.

...range from the utterly simple and lyrical... to the formally and intellectually more complex... though the work never becomes obsure or needlessly difficult. There is a wit in Boulter's work, a grim humour...

The whole is an eloquent study in the working out of a complex pattern of relationships... This is a richly enjoyable and thought-provoking volume, warmly recommended.