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Review: Sweet Torture of Breathing, by Lorna Thorpe

In these new poems, Lorna Thorpe writes vividly about sex and longing and love, of multiplying the bums / 911 my ashtray of a heart; of a young girl's fear of swimming out of her, depth, / of the hooves gathering pace beneath her; and of leaving / only the trail of prints / that may, or may not, / be suicide notes.

Thorpe was born and brought up in Brighton, where she lived for most of her life until she moved, earlier this year, to Cornwall. She has been a barmaid, a tour guide and a social worker. Her first collection of poems, Dancing to Motown, was published by Pighog Press in 2005 and her second, A Ghost in My House, received a warm notice on these pages in 2008.

She has a lovely conversational, colloquial voice, and these poems, peppered as they are with artful references to Billie Holiday, John Lennon, James Dean, Led Zeppelin, Silas Marner, Madame Bovary and Virginia Woolfs Flush as well as Nietzsche, Jung and Celestial Seasonings Wellness Tea, fairly bounce along. There are a couple of good drinking poems here, too, although she should by now know how to spell Meursault.