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Review: A Dart of Green and Blue, by Elizabeth Barrett

Barrett's A Dart of Green and Blue opens with Kingfisher, a fine and moving sonnet sequence on the death of her mother. Not only is Barrett able to play the form with virtuostic craft, but her study of loss encompasses the range of emotions - the haunting, the missing, the anger, the banal - without self-pity. The most painful of these sonnets is Matriarch which describes how family's balance, once maintained by the mother, is now unravelled; all of us / pulling at the threads, unpicking her stitches. Other poems in this collection deal with a child's death and the loss of a lover. Birds - magpies, pelicans, gulls, finch - work both to evoke pain and to bring hope and healing.