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Review: The Autumn Myth, by Joel Lane

The Autumn Myth is Joel Lane's third collection. As well as poetry he writes prose fiction that could be described as dark fantasy or horror. While the poems here confront the reality of modern day Britain, part of their power comes from that same part of the author's imagination. By using abstraction or alternative realities, Lane can address politic issues with a degree of force and morality that is difficult to obtain. Not every poem here is successful. At times there is too much obscurity. Where Lane gets it right, however, he is marvellous. This is nowhere better illustrated than in the title poem:

Nobody's brought a skull mask.
There never was an October
like Van Gogh's avenue of fire,
a slow and ecstatic decay -

This also demonstrates Lane's mastery of line and rhythm and how he uses his skills to create powerful and enigmatic poetry.

These poems are diverse in their subject matter but are all uncompromisingly current. Modern technology, including internet and mobile phones, is present, as are cinema and photography - two modes of representation that Lane likes to explore and utilise. This is a collection that bravely confronts social and political issues, from immigration to global warming, by experimenting with the way we imagine and present our world. It is only very slightly marred by some poems that are less successful, a little too enigmatic to have any effect, that dilute the power of this refreshing collection.